Group hopes to twin Kenyan and Gosport schools

Sir David Latham High School, Malindi, Kenya, which Graham Smith visited in October
Sir David Latham High School, Malindi, Kenya, which Graham Smith visited in October

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A NEW group hoped to find a twin school for one in Kenya after a Lee-on-the-Solent man’s visit to the country.

Graham Smith, co-ordinator of the Friends of Sir David Latham School, ran the group’s first meeting on Monday after he travelled to the school in Maldini, Kenya last October.

The school helps those orphaned or infected by HIV and AIDS, and is a volunteer school, meaning that it receives no state funding.

Mr Smith, the co-ordinator of the new Lee-on-the-Solent-based group said he hopes to twin the school with one in the Gosport and Lee area, and raise funds for the pupils’ education.

He met the school director Maxwell Kombe after he found out about the school when he read about it on the internet.

Mr Smith said: ‘The idea is to get people to donate money.

‘But it’s also about trying to link with charities – it’d be really good to get a partnership with a local school.

‘It’s good for our kids as well as them because it teaches them something about the world as well.

‘With the partnership, all I want to do is make the introductions and then they can take it from there.’

The school currently has 50 pupils aged 15 to 17, with three teachers, earning just £48 a month, and a running cost of £40 per student per month.

The primary school had 100 pupils but had to be shut down because leaders could no longer get funding.

It also employs a security guard and matron at a cost of £52 each a month.

Mr Smith said Mr Kombe told him he hopes the school will keep students from crime.

‘I was particularly concerned about children in Africa living with HIV and AIDS,’ Mr Smith said.

‘The idea was to go and see them first-hand and come back and fundraise.

‘It doesn’t really matter how little or how much is donated.

‘Everything he gets he can use, they’ve literally got nothing there. There’s a lot of scepticism about things in Africa, people are very quick to say charity starts or home, or they think it’s a scam.’

Mr Kombe said he wants to establish further schools.

He said: ‘The school is something I have dreamed of all my life to help deprived young people.

‘I want all young people to acquire a basic education so they can fight poverty.’

To find out how you can help and donate, contact Mr Smith via email on graham.l.smith@live.co.uk.