Aylsham charity’s mercy plea as rain wrecks Kenyan classrooms

Ian and Wendy Graham, from Aylsham, are trustees of Mnarani Aid, which supports two schools in Kenya

Ian and Wendy Graham, from Aylsham, are trustees of Mnarani Aid, which supports two schools in Kenya. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk charity needs help after 240 children were left without an education when wrecked their classroom roofs.

The wrecked classroom roof at Matsangoni School, Kenya.

The wrecked classroom roof at Matsangoni School, Kenya. - Credit: Archant

Downpours have left the rooms out of action at Matsangoni School in Kenya - one of two schools supported by Aylsham-based Mnarani Aid.

Students at Matsangoni School, Kenya.

Students at Matsangoni School, Kenya. - Credit: Archant

Trustees Ian and Wendy Graham, from Sir Williams Close, said it meant many children would not be able to access education.

Mr Graham said: 'The Kenyans will shrug their shoulders and keep going, but for us it's a bit of a disaster. We are relying on people's generosity.'

Mnarani Aid was set up 12 years ago after Mr and Mrs Graham holidayed in Kenya. Mr Graham said: 'We sponsored a child for education, but thought we should look at the whole background. So we went to Mnarani Primary and it was in a bad way. We knew that the best way to help the child was to help the school, and it mushroomed by accident.'

He said the charity - with strong support from Aylsham Rotary Club and Rotary International - had raised £30,000 to improve the school.

Mr Graham added: 'We were out there this year and realised we had finished the job. We had built it up to a standard that's good for Kenya and, as it happened, the headmaster Hassan had been transferred to Matsangoni School, which was in a really bad way.

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'So we wrote to our supporters and they agreed for us to change our emphasis to do something for Matsangoni instead.'

He said the school had no toilets, which meant 1,400 children up to the age of 14 had to use the nearby bushes. It also meant that, for one week each month, most of the girls stayed away from school because of hygiene concerns.

He said: 'We have realised that it is not books that are the first thing that schools need - it is good, hygienic toilets. When we sorted that out at Mnarani, the attendance increased.'

? To help, call 01263 733401 or visit www.mnaraniaid.co.uk

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