St.Peter’s the Rock school was founded in 2006 by Gladys Deche, a retired social welfare officer who also trained as a teacher. She is married, had 7 children (sadly 1 died) and the remaining 6 have now left school and have good jobs. Although she has her own house, she spends most of her time with the disabled children. It was her retirement mission to provide a safe learning and living haven for the children, of which there are currently about 50 aged from 2 to 26! Unfortunately, in Kenya, as in many other parts of the world, there is a stigma attached to these lovely children and so many of them board under Gladys’ watchful eye. She is a bundle of energy and fun, with genuine warmth towards the children and adults alike.
The present school is in rented premises squeezed between other buildings on a bustling main road which is both noisy and dusty as lorries, cars and various other vehicles run onto the dried mud edge of the potholed road to avoid each other. It is totally unsuitable for the needs of Gladys, the children and the teachers. The four classrooms are small; one is in a dark corridor and another is part of the kitchen/washing area. The ‘playground’ is a rough piece of ground outside the main building that frequently becomes flooded. The children’s disabilities include Down’s Syndrome, autism, epilepsy, mental handicap, inability to speak and physical deformity.
On our first visit, a little boy of two who was paralysed and in a wheelchair had just been brought in, as Gladys had heard that his Mum locked him in the house each night whilst she went on to the streets to earn money for them both. He was being fed and comforted by the caring teachers, which was touching to witness. We also saw a crippled girl of about 7 struggling down stone steps with adult-sized crutches to get to a rough shelter outside for his food. She was clearly very uncomfortable.
On the bright side, we were welcomed and greeted by huge smiles, clapping and excitement.
Gladys, the teachers and the children are one big family and their sense of caring and sharing is tangible. It therefore did not take us long to decide to do whatever we could to help this special ‘family’.
Gladys has a plot of land in the nearby village of Kashani which is about three quarters of an acre and is currently overgrown. Local goats are tethered onto it to feed. It is in an elevated, open position, with fresh air and lovely views. When we gave her the good news that we would help her to develop the land and agreed/costed a plan for the new school with our trusted builder, Gladys was obviously delighted!
We are planning to fence the land, build classrooms, dormitories, wash rooms/toilets, kitchen, office, guardian’s bedroom and a well.
We propose to build in phases as follows:-
1) Fence and gates
2) Completion of part-completed building for safe storage of raw materials
3) Digging and commissioning a well
4) Digging and laying foundations, under-floor drainage, and electricity.
5) Building and equipping 4 classrooms, 2 dormitories, kitchen/laundry room, toilet/shower facilities, office and guardian’s bedroom.
It is estimated that the total cost of the project will be in excess of £60,000.
The new school will allow Gladys to relocate her children to a rural area away from the current rented, cramped, crowded, tired and inadequate premises on a busy main road in Bamburi.
We need your help to transform these childrens’ lives by providing a facility that will enable Gladys and her dedicated teachers to care for and teach each of these children that ‘disability is not inability’. Their aim is to help all the children achieve their full potential.
Following this very ambitious fundraising and building program, we hope to provide St. Peter’s the Rock with additional facilities as and when funding is available.