Aquinoe Learning Centre

The News

M Makes More Progress

M, who arrived at the Aquinoe Learning Centre just weeks ago in a wheelchair, has been receiving intensive physiotherapy and is now walking.

Her wheelchair is folded up under her bed after two years of use.

Her mother saw this progress and left the school lat week with tears of joy in her eyes.

M has bonded very well with classmates and teachers and seems to be a different girl from the one who turned up at school recently.

What a marvellous transformation.  (more…)

Teacher Turns up Trumps

Jean knew RG when she taught Jean’s daughter at primary school, before RG made dyslexia her specialism. They have kept in contact over the years and now RG has retired, she has passed on many of her resources, including packs of playing cards, to the ALC charity.

Jean and Tina are going to the Aquinoe Learning Centre school in Kitale on 18th September 2017 and will transport many of the resources to the school.  Some of these will be passed on to Sara, the special needs teacher for use with her pupils, while the Diennes cubes/blocks will probably be used by other class teachers.

Education Excitement

This week has seen the admission of a pupil at the Aquinoe Learning Centre.

Nothing unusual about that at the beginning of a term, you might think.

Perhaps not, but this pupil (M) is paralysed from the waist down and has been refused entry to several schools due to being in a wheelchair.

The story starts off as a sad one.

At the age of twelve she contracted malaria and was taken to a local clinic. She was given an injection, but this had an adverse affect on some nerves and within a few days her legs were paralysed.

She started a physiotherapy course at home, and improved a little, but the treatment was expensive and eventually her parents could not afford it any more, so M deteriorated.

She could no longer go to school and started to have home tuition, but was very lonely, especially as her four siblings were enjoying themselves at school.

Her father Googled to see if there might be a school in Kenya that would admit her.  He came across this charity website and emailed the trustees.

This is where the good news starts.

The Director of the school, Josphat Shaduma, assessed M and was happy to admit her to the Aquinoe Learning Centre.  She can use her wheelchair on the tiled areas of the school and can access physiotherapy treatment at the school, as well as learning with others in a classroom.

The parents were very emotional when M started at the beginning of the week as they had almost given up hoping for a placement for their daughter.


10km update

Donations have continued to come in for Dave and Patrick’s ten kilometre run in aid of the Aquinoe Learning Centre.  These donations now total £588.22.

Many, many thanks both to runners and donors.


Jean’s husband Dave and son Patrick raised over £350 for Aquinoe running in the annual 10K event round Olympic Park in London on July 2.
Patrick braved a blistered heel to record a personal best of 53 minutes, 53 seconds while Dave came home in 1 hour, 9 minutes, 38 seconds.
Over 6,100 runners took part with Patrick finishing 1,768th and Dave, racing for the third year in a row, a more modest 4,612th.
Dave, 72,  says: “I was hoping to keep under 1 hour 10 minutes so I am pleased about that although I was
rather one-paced.
“It was great to have so much support at the venue from Jean and son Chris and off the track from our most kind sponsors so thanks to everyone who contributed so much.”
The last 100 metres of the event are run up the finishing straight of the Olympic Stadium where so many athletic greats have raced since 2012, the year of the London Games.
Dave says: “I kept just enough in reserve to sprint that last 50 metres. It’s quite a thrill but Usain Bolt can rest easy!”
He adds: “Patrick was a real star running with a heavily bandaged heel protecting a blood blister which emerged a couple of weeks ago so to record the time he did was something special.”
Patrick, 38,  says: ” What a thrill to run in the Olympic Stadium. It was a pleasure to help raise money for Aquinoe so that Jean and everyone else can continue their excellent work.
“Thanks to Dave who inspired me to get back into running. Fingers crossed we can continue to run and raise more money in the future.”

David Miliband on refugees

Jean recently heard a TED talk by David Miliband on refugees.

She has been seeking sponsorship for South Sudanese refugees  from the Kakuma camp in Northern Kenya over the last year.  It was therefore inspiring to hear David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, talking so eloquently about the millions of people displaced from their homes by conflict and disaster.

Please listen to the TED talk


Stars successful!

Patrick and Dave are real stars.  They both participated in the Great Newham Run at the Olympic Park over ten kilometres and turned in wonderful performances in hot conditions.

Thank you so much to both of them for supporting the Aquinoe Learning Centre by asking sponsors to donate to the school.

Chris and Jean were at the Park to cheer them on.


Dave and Patrick run for Aquinoe

Tomorrow is the day of the Great Newham run – ten kilometres round the Olympic Park, finishing off with a lap round the London Stadium.

Dave (husband) and Patrick (son) are both running and have asked friends and family for sponsorship with the proceeds going to the Aquinoe Centre Charitable Trust.

Newham 10km Run

The trustees wish them both much luck.  Jean and Chris (son) will be there to cheer their heroes on!

Games Day in Kitale

Boys and girls took part in the divisional sports competition on 12th May.

They were wearing sports kit provided by DL and his local football club, in Toronto, Canada.

The participants were accompanied (and cheered on) by some of the pupils with disabilities.

Four of the Aquinoe participants have been chosen to represent the sub-county.

Plant Sales Raise More Funds

Long-time supporter of The Aquinoe Learning Centre Charitable Trust, Margaret, has once again been selling ‘spare’ plants at a stall beside the road by her gateway.

She is an experienced horticulturalist who has a great knowledge of plants and growing them, and the trustees are privileged that she is happy to pass on proceeds to the children at Aquinoe.

She has suggested that her £85 is put towards the cost of buying corn as the price of several foodstuffs has risen sharply in response to adverse weather conditions for farming from KES2,500 to KES4,500.

Desperate Need For Sponsors

The trustees have been concerned about the fate of South Sudanese refugees for over a year.

Aquinoe Learning Centre had a number of them in the school of varied ages, some from the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya.  The situation in South Sudan is desperate for many people, see this recent BBC report

We managed to obtain sponsorship for some of the refugee children but sadly, the others had to return to the camp.

One of the lucky children who has been sponsored is named Queen, and she was living with guardians on the edge of Kitale with her two siblings who did not have sponsors. Now the guardians have disappeared. Nobody at Aquinoe knows exactly what has happened.

The children have been taken into school for the holiday and are being looked after, but it is vital that we obtain sponsorship for them.

£30 a month would be invaluable to these needy children.


Colston Bassett Visit

We made another visit to Nottinghamshire to give a talk to the children of Colston Bassett School.  They did some fantastic fundraising for the Aquinoe Learning Centre last year and plan to do more this year.

They were pleased to hear updates about the school in Kitale and see photos and videos of the musical instruments bought with the money they raised.

As ever, they came up with a variety of questions about the school and children at Aquinoe and showed a real interest.

Another Christmas Donation

Lucky Aquinoe has received another wonderful donation from RN-C of £150.  He has done this in lieu of sending Christmas cards.  Thanks so much.

Lights go out

Eighteen months ago the charity trustees were keen to set in motion a solar power project because of the high cost of electricity and also because of the unreliability of the local supplier.

The project came to fruition in January 2016.

Once again it proved its worth as the Kibomet area of Kitale was plunged into darkness, leaving the Aquinoe Learning Centre a shining beacon in its midst.

2016 Newsletter

The Aquinoe Learning Centre has had a wonderful year with an amazing variety of projects to the great benefit of the school.

The newsletter give a summary of fundraising undertaken.


Solar Power Shines Through

The Aquinoe Learning Centre is located on the edge of town in a suburb of Kitale called Kibomet.

On the night of 6th December, the whole of the area was in darkness because of a power cut: the whole area except the Aquinoe Learning Centre, that is.

Local people came out to enquire about access to electricity and to find out how the school was able to bypass the general situation. They found out about the wonderful solar energy installation and the difference it makes to the pupils and staff at Aquinoe.

Letters from Sponsored Pupils

Pupils are so grateful to be able to take advantage of the education and extra curricula activities at Aquinoe.

EN wrote: “Life in school is usually very exciting. I assure you that even the new playground makes me happy. There’s new musical instruments in school and we shall begin music lessons.”

Middle Class - Elizabeth

GW wrote: “I am glad to inform you that I really enjoy being in school and that I was so happy when I joined Aquinoe. The school is very interesting compared with the other schools around. Some off the things that make our school interesting are the playing ground, the computer lessons, the library and the recently purchased music instruments. I love to be part of the community.”

What a pleasure it is to read the letters.

What a Message!

We have received letters from some sponsored pupils.

TW is a pupil who had polio and is in a wheelchair. This is a very poignant excerpt from her letter:

“I am working very hard to see that I gain as much as my fellow students get. I want to show my fellows that they are wrong because they think if I am disabled I cannot do anything. I want to assure them that disability isn’t inability.

How right she is!

Letters from Sponsored South Sudanese Pupils

We have received some very moving letters from the sponsored pupils at Aquinoe and I wanted to share some of the comments. These are from some of the South Sudanese pupils and show how much they appreciate just being able to be at school at all.

CD wrote: “I enjoy being at Aquinoe and am doing well in my studies. There is a good number of Sudanese pupils here and this makes me feel at home. You may not know but Sudan is very different from Kenya. Kenyans are always very busy working but in Sudan people enjoy the social life. This makes me miss our country so much. I know that one day peace will prevail in our country and we shall be able to go home.”

ND wrote: “Our parents went back to South Sudan. I feel good to be in school. When we were in Kakuma [refugee camp] we never went to school.”

NM wrote: “I like schooling so much but I have a big challenge. I stay with my grandmother who is very old. Our mother is in South Sudan. I have ten siblings whom I make sure to take care of before coming to school. I like our headteacher because sometime back I failed to go to school for a week but he came for me at our home together with my sister. It may be difficult for me but I promise to use this opportunity and work very hard so that I may achieve the best out of it.”

ND wrote: “Life sometimes becomes so tough for us, even we lack meals. This is because of the war that keeps on occurring in our country so much but we cannot go there.”

ND wrote: I am taking my education seriously so that one day I would go and serve my country Southern Sudan. Have you ever experienced war in your country? If not, pray to God that it will never happen. It is a very ugly thing and I really hate it because it forced us to seek refuge in Kenya.”

NN wrote: “I come from a very big family and as you know we’re just refugees in Kenya, Am sure we could not afford to stay in school. I am working hard in school so that when I grow up I can go and work in our country and support the people of Southern Sudan.”



Classrooms Receive New Coat of Paint

The classrooms at Aquinoe are relatively new, but have been battered by the weather and were looking very drab.

We transferred money a few weeks ago, including a sum for a new coat of paint for all of the classrooms.

Work has begun and should be completed before the beginning of next term, ready for the new school year.