25th February 2018
Ned Bristow @nedbristow Reporter Northwich Guardian Newspaper
EIGHT supporters of a Northwich-based charity have visited a poor rural Kenyan community to open a new classroom serving underprivileged pupils. The octet, volunteers for Under the Mango Tree, officially unlocked the classroom at Timboni Nursery and Primary School – 30km inland from Mombasa – during a recent self-funded visit. Led by chair of trustees Gordon Atkinson and his wife, Angela – on their fifth visit since 2010 – the group also included Lorraine and Shaun Dunne from Davenham, Karen and Noel Owens from Hartford, Denver Shaw from Warrington and Jean Ball from Morecambe.
The community came together with dancing and music to celebrate the ribbon-cutting opening of the classroom, which gives 30 students a place to develop their educations. Gordon said: “The overriding outcome of the visit is that we have been able to confirm that this school is doing well. “As always there is still much to be achieved before the school and community are fully self-sufficient such as providing basic infrastructure, but we will continue to work hard to assist.”
The charity is so-called because the school – which endured a tough start with objections to education and no help from the government – originated as a group of students huddled under a mango tree. It is now a multi-room school that serves 300 meals twice a day to an impoverished school community.
Karen Owens said: “As soon as we arrived at Timboni School we understood why our friends Gordon and Angela felt so committed and passionate about helping these children, from nursery class to primary Year 8, to gain an education. “Without the essential funding from Under the Mango Tree these children would never be able to reach their full potential and enter the workplace.”
The visitors also travelled around Kenya meeting craftsmen, buying items for resale back in the UK. Sale events are planned over the coming year.
An informal illustrated talk about the visit will be given at St Helen's Church in Station Road at 7.30pm on Friday, March 23. All are welcome, and Kenyan craft items will also be on sale. underthemangotree.org.uk
(below) Trustees, UK Supporters and Staff