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3rd Newsletter - December 2012



It has been another busy but rewarding year for THE GEOFF AND DIANNAH CHARITABLE TRUST in remote Western Kenya with ongoing water projects, the official opening of the new Geoff Brown Girls High School and our continuing interest in supporting the orphans groups at Chebukutumi, Tunyo and Mapela as well as our continuing support for the Voice of the Disabled group at Bisunu.  A significant event this autumn has been the visit to UK of the headteacher of Chebukutumi Primary School, David Saenyi, whose vision it was to set up the new girls’ high school.

No new water tanks were built in 2012 but we did embark on 2 ambitious deep hand dug wells at Nalondo and Murembe in an attempt to get below the 40 ft dry season water table level in the hilly and rocky terrain.  Nearly all local hand dug wells are shallow and dry up in the dry season causing the women and children to walk many kilometres to a polluted stream or river.  At Nalondo we hit rock at 40 ft and failed to find water and so we will now build a harvested water tank for the community there.  At Murembe the first sinking met a similar fate but we have now achieved success at a slightly different location and have found water below 50 ft.  This well will have a hand pump but most local shallow wells are only for hand drawing.

On 4 March the Bishop of Bungoma, The Rt. Rev. George Mechumo officially opened and blessed the new Geoff Brown Girls High School in Chebukutumi.  It was a grand occasion and cause for much deserved celebration.

The first 2 classrooms had been built by the end of 2011 with a grant from our charity and equipped with desks and text books ready for the January New Year intake.  This year the school has achieved a remarkable success in coming second out of all the 16 secondary schools (5 girls’ and 11 boys’) in the district in the mock exams.  Later this year our charity awarded another grant to enable the final 2 classrooms of the first phase of development to be completed which allows a maximum enrolment of 160 students.  With the new intake the numbers are expected to rise immediately to over 120.  The school is permitted to grow to 640 boarding students and is already attracting huge interest in the area where secondary girl child education is virtually unobtainable.   Currently it is a day school with annual fees of £40 and boys are allowed to attend but hopefully it will soon become all girls, such is the demand from them, and then the boys will have to attend the nearby boys’ school.  When it becomes boarding annual fees will range from £160 to £240 and will enable the girls to concentrate on their studies and avoid the distraction of daily domestic duties at home in fetching water and wood, cooking and cleaning.
 
The Orphans and Vulnerable Children Foundation which we set up at Tunyo decided to invest in a milking cow as well as providing some school uniforms.  The milk will not only provide valuable nourishment to the orphans but will provide a source of income for the foundation.  There is no primary school at Tunyo which is set high on a hill and the community there is in desperate need of one.  In the meantime many of the young children are prepared to walk several kilometres to the nearest school at Chebukutumi to seek an education.

This year some of the orphans at Mapela were given school uniforms and some had jumpers because the nights can be very cold at 1500 metres.  In 2010 they all received blankets and in 2011 they received uniforms.  No child can attend school without a uniform and so for an orphan a school uniform costing only £3 is a passport to an 8 year education and highly prized.  As usual they were also treated to drinks and biscuits.

At Bisunu the Voice of the Disabled used our grant to buy a wheel chair, a goat, 2 beehives and set up a nursery.

On and off during the whole year our charity correspondent, Elizabeth Mukholo, has carried out valuable work for us in travelling around our projects to take photographs and send back reports.  She is a great asset to us and has acquitted herself very well in this her first year.  She is a great communicator and we hope she will continue working for us in 2013.  During this time Elizabeth has also been studying for her final exams for a diploma in Information Communication Technology which she took in November.  Here is a photo of Elizabeth at college with the old laptop we sent out to her last year and a more recent one taking a break on a college educational visit to Uganda.   Most of the photos in this newsletter were taken by her. 

In late September we were privileged to welcome David Saenyi the headteacher of the Primary School at Chebukutumi linked to Crick United Benefice.  We had set out a 3 week programme of visits and meetings with primary and secondary schools, churches and charities to raise awareness of our charity’s objectives and to promote our mutual interest in developing secondary girl child.  We visited 2 local secondary schools and are hopeful of forging links with them.  As a result of his visit we are now looking into a simple solar power scheme for the school.  Electricity is still a few miles away but the government must eventually provide power to the school.  David is a great advocate and active supporter of our charity and helps us enormously during our visits in hosting and escorting us to remote communities.  On his return he has investigated the desperate situation at the natural spring in Chebukube which we plan to protect in 2013.

Our ambitious target for 2013 is to build another 6 water tanks, protect Chebukube spring, install some solar power at the new girls’ secondary school and continue with our support for the orphans and the Bisunu Voice of the Disabled which we have pledged to do over the next few years.  We are extremely grateful to all our fund raisers and donors, especially to Wilmslow Wells for Africa without whose continuing support we would not be able to achieve so much on water projects.  If you can support us in any way through regular giving, no matter how small a donation, we would be extremely grateful as it allows us to plan ahead.   Gift Aid forms are available on the website.

Geoff Brown - Chairman

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