April 10, 2018
With another academic year well under way, we thought it would be useful to give you an update on where we are now, and to answer some commonly asked questions. Firstly, a question that many of us have wondered from time to time:
Why should we support these children miles away in Africa when there is so much poverty right on our doorstep?
We recognise that there are so many deserving causes and myriad needs that people want to respond to. But we feel that the children in Nayamba need our help because there are literally no other safety nets in place for them. While poverty in the UK is tragic and needs to be addressed, by and large, children will still be given access to a free education, where they could qualify for free school meals. If they become ill, they can access free health care, and schools will often ensure that pupils have clothes to wear and shoes for their feet. If a child discloses an abuse, there is a social care system that will freely support and advocate. These services are by no means perfect but still are a stark contrast to the services available within the Nayamba community. It is these basic rights that we are trying to address through our work with the school - and the support is making a huge difference. Almost 350 children, can now have a basic education and daily food, with advocates who will fight for them should they need it. We are also looking at how we can improve the infrastructure to support their basic health needs; we now screen for sight and hearing difficulties and provide equipment if needed.
We have been so touched by the many community groups who have taken Nayamba to their hearts and helped the children there. As you know, much of the fundraising in 2016 and early 2017 was to facilitate building developments, which means we now have an adequate number of classrooms, sanitation and accommodation to run a school with nine Grades and a preschool. While this was an awful lot of money (approx £90,000), we made sure, through careful management, that we got the absolute maximum value from it. In fact, we managed to build six classrooms, seven teachers' houses and separate boys’ and girls’ sanitation facilities for 350 children. As you can see, the donations went a very long way. But now we have a school with greater running costs than ever. Despite this, we are able to employ all our teachers (from Grades 1-9, preschool and headteacher) for the same as one average UK teacher salary. We run a very lean budget, so teacher costs amount to 90% of our annual budget - but that is still a fair bit to raise each month. This is why we are always looking for people who are willing to give monthly.
What’s next for Nayamba?
We are now wanting to build a small trade centre on the Nayamba site. Not only will this give some of our Nayamba children an apprenticeship opportunity and some practical training once they finish Grade 9, but it will also help the school generate some funds through selling what they produce to help the school become partially self-sustaining. This will be a fantastic, empowering and forward-thinking development, so we still need your help. Thank you!