More than £28,000 has been secured by Darlington Rotary for the major refurbishment of a partner primary school in Kenya.
The process of securing money for the work was started more than four years ago for the school in Vingujini on the south coast of Kenya, which Darlington Rotary has supported for several years.
The grant has been secured from the Rotary International Foundation, of which Darlington Rotary is a part, who have confirmed that $38,500 (£28,100) had been released.
Darlington Rotary Foundation Lead, Robin Raine, said: “It has been a long road and we’ve had to satisfy a number of criteria to get this far.
“But I was determined that this very worthwhile project would be successful and I’m delighted we finally made it.”
Darlington Rotarian Peter Philips has been involved with the school for several years, and helped the school develop and expand.
He said: ‘The school has reached the stage of needing major refurbishment, in particular new toilets both children and staff, water storage and supply, wash facilities and hygiene training, a library, classroom furniture and a staffroom.
“We would also like to create a shop on the school grounds – an idea from a Rotary colleague John Dumbrell through Rotary North East – to encourage entrepreneurship and sustainability so it can be school self-funding for the future.”
Vingujini is a forest village with farming and fishing as main activities.
Some people commute to more commercial centres of Diani and Mombasa to buy goods and trade them back in their village. Most houses are still timber, mud, and thatched roofs.
The school has reached the stage of needing major refurbishment, in particular new toilets both children and staff, water storage and supply, wash facilities and hygiene training, a library, classroom furniture and a staffroom.”
Peter added: “The government pays primary teachers and provides some learning aids, but the buildings and everything else has to be provided by the local community – most who have nothing.
“In the mid-nineties the school was under a tree, with a couple of adults teaching the children. It now has 1,200 pupils with 30 teaching staff, housed in 26 classrooms which provide a much-needed learning environment.”
Darlington Rotary President, Nigel Little, said: “We’re very grateful to both Peter who has been the long time contact and supporter of the school, and Robin, who has tirelessly pursued the application process over more than four years.”