Over the past 4 years, Redhill has established a strong partnership with Makololwe Primary School in Western Kenya. As many of you know, Makololwe Primary school was established in 2000 by parents from the local community. It was originally built using traditional methods out of sticks, mud and banana fibres and financially supported by the parents who wanted to give their children something they had never had – the chance to go to school. When Mrs Sedgebeer first visited in 2011, she was told of the school’s ambitious five year plan to improve the facilities for the children. These plans included: building four new classrooms to compliment the seven currently available; digging eighteen more pit drop latrines and ensuring a clean supply of drinking water – there was no drinking water facility available to the pupils at that time.
One of our first projects together, as a partnership, was the production of the 'World in our School' cookbook, the profits of which went to Makololwe to help them fund a borehole in order to supply clean drinking water. The new well, with its concrete surround and its secure manhole cover, is now replete with a sign proudly displaying the help they had received from Redhill.
The second improvement was the building of a new classroom for the year 2 class. Initially, this class was held in a temporary, corrugated iron extension, the walls of which, did not reach the floor. As a consequence, during the rainy season, the class flooded and the rammed mud floor became a quagmire. The school therefore decided that the best use of the rest of the money we had raised would be to put it towards covering the construction costs of a classroom for the children.
The following year, another addition was made which was Makololwe’s new kitchen block and store room. The chair of governors and a few parents volunteered to construct the wooden frame of the new kitchen block. The school children helped to fill the frame with mud ‘bricks’. It brought home, in a very real and tangible way, that our partnership is not just about how we can help our friends and colleagues at Makololwe but what we can also learn from them and alongside them.
Makololwe School received a letter from the local council warning them that unless their toilets were renovated, the school will have to be closed in December 2014. In the academic year 2013-14, we raised nearly £2000 via Y6 Sponsored events, Sponsored silence initiated by Y4 children and mine and Mrs Shaw's half marathon! Fortunately, this was enough to build 10 boys, 10 girls and 3 toilets for staff. The toilets were brick built and since their construction, they have been a source of pride for Makololwe and envy for the neighbouring schools, many of whom have visitedto see the 'brick built toilets'.
Over the course of our partnership, we have welcomed 2 class teachers and the Headteacher of our partner school. We have had opportunities to plan and deliver lessons in each other's schools and share project outcomes of our pupils. This has given our pupils a real incentive to work towards an outcome as much of the work is often shared with Makololwe. We hope this partnership will continue and thrive in the coming years.