One of the earliest challenges Tom had was how to improve the old school classrooms.
The School buildings, in 2009, comprised a long wooden barn with dais where two or three infant classes were conducted at once, and a smoke-blackened, brick building comprising 5 classrooms, the headmaster’s office and open storage area. There was a latrine in the playground and a water pump.
The smoke-blackened rooms of the brick house.
Our first major project, which the local education authority insisted upon, was to provide classrooms to replace the wooden barn, which the LEA had condemned.
Our friends and donors rallied round, and the School was able to re-open after the Easter break. We received reports and eventually photographs of the two new buildings, comprising 4 classrooms, which were a great improvement, as they were both light and airy. In addition, there were now more benches, so no child had to sit on the floor.
We meet with the Guardians sitting outside the new classrooms.
Smoke-blackened class rooms.
We felt, when we left in 2009, that improving the brick rooms would aid pupils and staff. The following year we arrived with the materials to do this ourselves. We painted 4 classrooms and left the materials for the Guardians to finish the job.
With the move to the new school in 2013, maintaining the classrooms is no longer a problem, the rooms are bright, clean and well decorated. However, the new buildings presented their own challenges – we needed to equip them with desks and the mud floors created a serious health hazard. !
Newly built classrooms at the new school. Right: Elliot (Teacher’s assistant) sitting outside ‘Primary One’ classroom.
New wooden classrooms – light and airy