- Three of the trustees visited Kenya from 28th September to 8th October 2019. This trip was the first trustee visit for a few years so reconnecting with the leaders of The Salvation Army in both Kenyan Territories was high on the agenda. A number of changes within the organisation of both territories had happened since the last visit.
Kenya West Territory : Headquarters in Kakamega
- Starting off in the Kenya West Territory the team were based in Kakamega for three days. Visits to a number of projects supported by The Kenya Trust were planned. Seeing first hand the difference the funding from the trust had made to these schools was amazing.
- First port of call was to the Kwirenyi Secondary School where the trust had funded the refurbishment of the school dining hall with newly painted walls and the provision of dinning tables and benches. Previously the children had to sit on the floor for their meals.
- Then it was on to Makhwabuye Primary School. This school has been identified as being a potential project for The Kenya Trust. A great deal is needed to be done at this school to bring it up to even a minimum acceptable standard. Classrooms need to be completed, latrines built, water tanks installed, staff room and head teacher office need to be constructed as well as general ground works to make it a safe and acceptable learning institution.
- The drive to the William Booth Primary and Secondary Schools was ‘interesting’ the journey took over 3 hours from Kakamega to this very rural and quite remote community. The schools had benefited from funding to construct blocks of pit latrines and rain water storage tanks.
- At the Emurembe Primary school the team saw Standard 8 class doing their mock examinations seated on desks in the open air, under the trees as their classroom is still under construction. The desks were “borrowed” from the Standard 7 classroom so those children were being taught while seated on the rough floor. New desks are needed at this school. The Kenya Trust funded the construction of 2 blocks of pit latrines at this school.
- Visits to the Kibos Primary and Secondary Schools for the Blind in Kisumu were made on our last full day in Kenya West. These schools are the only schools for the blind in the area and places are in great demand. The Kenya Trust has not supported these schools up to now and a project to help supply much needed Braille paper and for repair and maintenance of Braille machines is being started during our Christmas Appeal in 2019.
- Our last visits in Kenya West were to the Joyland Primary and Secondary Schools for the physically disabled. The team went to see the projects funded by the trust just weeks before the visit. The Swimming Pool circulation pump and chemicals were installed and the pool again fit for purpose to provide hydro-therapy sessions for the children to recommence. The borehole pump was being replaced to allow for extraction of fresh water and not relying on costly municipal water. The industrial lawn mower had been purchased. But the most significant was that 10 of the promised 15 wheelchairs had been ordered. The wheelchairs are custom built to the child’s needs and size.
Kenya East Territory: Headquarters in Nairobi
- Travelling from Kisumu to Nairobi was just a short 45 minute internal flight. The visits in Kenya East touched on a number of projects which have received funding from The Kenya Trust over recent years and it was good to see both social and music projects which have received support from the trust.
- Staines Salvation Army Pre School in Ashford Middlesex continue to support, through The Kenya Trust, the Kosovo School in Mathare in Nairobi. The school was build by The Kenya Trust and is in one of the most deprived slums in Nairobi. The Kosovo School in Mathare in Nairobi provides an absolute haven for these young children. Over 80 children are taught here and given a great start in life.
- Probably the most well known of the slums in Nairobi is the one called Kibera as it has featured on Comic Relief for a few years. The Kenya Trust has funded the building of the nursery school classrooms, pit latrines and security boundary wall for The Salvation Army compound within the slum. It is a place of refuge for so many.
- There is a very special school in the town of Njoro in The Great Rift Valley an hour or so away from Lake Nakuru which is an absolute inspiration for the work they are doing. This school is for the mentally handicapped. The Head Teacher is a wonder, the way she and her staff look after and teach these children is a wonder. The Kenya Trust funded the construction of the girls dormitory and provided toys and teaching aids for the pupils. There are 2 boys dormitories and only 1 for girls, the Head Teacher wants to bring parity and build another dorm for girls, she is looking to expand. Since taking over as Head Teacher in January 2019 the 4 poly-tunnels have been repaired, drip irrigation system installed and vegetables grown for the school kitchen and the gardener is an ex-pupil!
- A visit to the Variety Village in Thika rounded up the visit to the schools which The Kenya Trust have supported over the past few years. Variety Village is a vocational training school providing skills training in a number of trades. Most of the pupils are either physically disabled, increasingly those with mental issues are being welcomed into the school. Trades include, Tailoring, Knitting, Metalwork, Woodwork, Sign-writing, Leather-work, Hairdressing and an Opticians. Over 300 pairs of glasses were brought over to Variety Village by the visiting trustees. These are used to provide frames for those who cannot afford to purchase them in the open market. The Kenya Trust have provided funds for general maintenance, shower and pit latrine blocks and fire extinguishers to bring the facility up to fire regulations.
More information on these projects will be made available on the website in due course.