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Stratford man's fundraising efforts lead to work starting on toilets for school in Kenya

THE first phase of work has started to build 20 toilets at a school in Kenya where currently 450 people – pupils and staff – have access to only one toilet on site.

Pupils at St. Philips Primary School, Kamatagui in the province of Nandi, Kenya. (57618250)
Pupils at St. Philips Primary School, Kamatagui in the province of Nandi, Kenya. (57618250)

Shocked by the scenes he witnessed on a visit to the school, Stratford resident Richard Hartley, pledged to try to raise the £25,000 needed to build a new toilet block for boys and girls to use while they attend school, without the risk of falling ill caused by poor sanitation in the existing toilet.

“Education is important to these children because if they can attend school and learn in a safe environment, pass their exams and become qualified it improves their chances of finding a job when they are older,” said Richard. “Having a job means they can feed themselves and their families if needs be.”

In 2020, he visited St Philip’s Primary School, Kamatagui in the province of Nandi, as part of a goodwill link between the Diocese of Coventry and the Diocese of Kapsabet set up in 2019. As a result, exchange visits to forge greater ties in education, health and Christianity have taken place. It was after one of these visits, where he met pupils and staff at the school, Richard decided to launch a fundraising campaign.

“They are in total poverty. There are broken windows at the school that won’t be replaced because there isn’t the money as there is no infrastructure to pay for the windows or toilets, so I thought if we could raise some money that would be a start,” said Richard.

His appeal was reported in the Herald last year and he says he was very grateful for the donations readers made. The work has started at the school which will soon have ten toilets for girls and ten for boys.

Richard added: “Through the generous donations of readers of the Herald and contributions from local people and Holy Trinity Church, work has started on the foundations to build a new sanitation block for the school. It’s been a long process, made difficult by the pandemic. Many people in that part of Kenya were concentrating on staying alive in a farming community that was not able to transport its produce to market. Believe it or not, toilets, were not high on the priority list.”

The ceremonial sod was dug by Rev Richard Suffern, who was representing the St Philip’s School Project, Kapsabet Trust.

Anyone still wishing to contribute to the project can send donations to SPSPK c/o NatWest Code 60 20 41 A/C 94133670.

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