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In 1999, following a family holiday in Kenya, Mark Orchard returned to Dabaso with a team of builders and built 3 new classrooms for the local Primary School. During his trip it was suggested that the Somerset village of Hutton and the Kenyan village of Dabaso were twinned. Mark came home and suggested the idea to the local Parish Council who, after much discussion, agreed. In November of that year, following a twinning ceremony in Hutton, over 40 people set off to Dabaso to formalise the twinning there.
Since then there have been a number of visits and communications between the two communities that have been strengthened by the use of modern technology. Links have been built with the Churches, the Primary School, the village councils and friendships have been made.
It was agreed early on that the group’s expenses would be kept to a minimum so any visits are selffunded so that all the money raised reaches its intended destination. We are a registered charity (Charity No 1104624) and all of our time is provided voluntarily.
Apart from the initial building of three classrooms and the subsequent appeal for desks, that are still in use to this day albeit with repairs being made, the projects have been large and small. Two containers were sent from Hutton filled with books, clothes, tools and equipment which again are still used for maintenance and in the health centre. This centre was originally supported by a local GP and the practice supported two nursing staff, this support has been taken over by the twinning association and funds for the staff salaries now come through the association’s account and paid for by specific regular donations. The centre has also been utilised by the Kenyan medical agencies during nationwide vaccination programmes and has achieved registered status.
Over the years we have been able to assist a number of children into secondary education and provide 4 bursaries for children who have been educated at Dabaso Primary School, passed their final exams with a good score, and otherwise would not be able to continue their education. As one graduates from secondary school another is selected. Previous bursary students have now graduated from University and are contributing to Dabaso community. One of the biggest changes over the years has been the introduction of free primary education in Kenya that presented Dabaso school with huge logistical issues as hundreds of children suddenly emerged from nowhere expecting to be educated.
We believe that education is the key to the future on a personal, community and regional level. Every January a rigorous selection process identifies a bursary recipient who joins a larger group of bursary students mentored by the Akili Trust (a sister organisation to Hutton-Dabaso twinning). Students attend a day or boarding school at National or Regional level.
We continue to contribute to the water and electricity bills for Dabaso Primary School as the demand increases and encourage the use of grey water in the toilets we installed and sustainable energy sources.
The Health Centre nursing staff continue to be supported financially. Mosquito nets and pharmaceutical supplies are regular purchases. Malaria test strips now give instant results so treatment can now be immediate and specific. Health education and Health Promotion are part of the range of services on offer at the Medical Centre.
If you are interested in learning more about what we do, would like to make a donation, join us on a visit please contact Liz Ockwell (Chair) on 01934 822376 or email Margaret Sills (Secretary) at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to receive a newsletter by email from time to time please contact Margaret.
Donations can be made to the charity by following the link here
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