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A return to help Kenyan school

PUBLISHED: 17:06 11 October 2008 | UPDATED: 12:00 03 July 2010

Liz Coates

Around 10 years ago generous Mercury readers backed an appeal to help build a children's home and school in poverty-scarred Kenya. Their kindness helped to plant the seeds of a happy future in a country where the poorest scratch moss from the parched earth for food.

Around 10 years ago generous Mercury readers backed an appeal to help build a children's home and school in poverty-scarred Kenya. Their kindness helped to plant the seeds of a happy future in a country where the poorest scratch moss from the parched earth for food.

Now the borough of Great Yarmouth is being asked to support the school again with an appeal to fund 25 school desks at just £30 each. Liz Coates reports.

Bruno Peek's arguments are persuasive. In a land where children play without toys and learn without books it is hard to do nothing.

And having just returned from his fourth visit to the children's home and school in Kisumu, Kenya, he makes no apology, for the direct approach.

He wants to give the children of the school a simple gift for Christmas - a wooden desk made by carpenters at the home, each with nine exercise books, two pens, two pencils, a compass and ruler, protractor and rubber.

For most of the children, among them aids orphans and youngsters who have been dumped on the school's doorstep, it will be the first time they have been given anything new.

This week the Mercury pledged to kick off the appeal by sponsoring a desk that will stay with the child throughout its school career.

Mr Peek said the school run by Pat Botwright, 70, from Diss had leaned heavily on the borough before and this time he hoped schools would come on board as well as individual's touched by the plight of Kenya's children.

Having returned from a two week trip last Tuesday he said: “It was my fourth time out there but this was my first visit for eight years. I could spend so much time saying how bad things are, but what we wanted to do was come back and do something positive.

“The reason we have gone for desks is because there is a real opportunity for schools to get involved. It would be a nice link between the pupils in the school and those within the home.

“When that desk is made it will be given to a student and they will keep it and every time he or she sits there it will remind them that it was given to them by someone in the UK that cared.

“We will wait until Christmas until we have all the desks then we will send the money out there. Everyone who sponsors a desk will receive by email a picture of the young person with it.

“The problems in Kenya are down to poverty and corruption and the fact that nobody really seems to care. One of the lads in the school came to Pat one evening bawling his eyes out. He had just received a call from his birth mother. She had carried his three-year-old sister three miles to a hospital but because there was no money she was turned away. By the time she had got home the child had died. They did not even have enough money for a coffin.

“The home is providing security, love and education. Most of the children have no parents and without education they cannot do anything. Everything that is provided has been provided by donors.

“When I met up with the little infants they have all got such big smiles on their faces because they know that somebody cares. All I am saying is that the borough of Great Yarmouth helped to build this home.

“If it wasn't for the generosity of he people of Great Yarmouth that first wing and that water tank would not have been built. That is something the town can be very proud of, its people have helped the lives of children in Kenya. If we could get all the money by Christmas wouldn't that be a lovely gift?

“It's only a small amount, but it could grow.”

Mr Peek, known for his pageantmaster role, made the trip with Gary Johnson of Lamb Electrical who carried out a raft of jobs for free.

He said he was “chuffed” to see the borough of Great Yarmouth recognised for its generosity, in commemorative lettering on the original wing.

Cheques made payable to Covenant Home Trust can be sent to Mr Peek at 21 Coverdale, Carlton Colville, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 8TD. For more information email pageantmaster@mac.com

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