Parents, teachers and pupils of Kathama Primary School in Chakama location of Malindi Sub County broke into song and dance when members of the Rotary Club of Malindi gifted the school with 80 desks and a block of toilets.
Ululations rent the air when they saw two huge Lorries carrying the desks turning towards their school from the Malindi-Sala Gate road as members of the Rotary Club were holding a meeting with parents.
The desk donation caught the school community by surprise since the club had not announced that it would donate the desks in the school situated in one of the remotest parts of the sub county.
The parents had been called to meet visitors from the club, but they did not know that the school that has suffered lack of adequate desks would receive 80 desks that would enable 160 of their children who have been learning on the floors sit comfortably as they study.
Even the Head Teacher William Sulubu Baya was not aware of the agenda of the meeting. He had mobilised the parents to help him lobby for desks and other facilities, only to see two huge Lorries arriving in the compound carrying the desks.
The President of the Rotary Club of Malindi Mr. Conrad Masinde said members of the club had been touched by the plight of the pupils when they visited the school in May this year to hand over a toilet block donated by Rotarian Reuben Kioko and his family.
“Members were touched by the fact that pupils were sitting on the floor and decided to make desks and give the school a surprise. We are also looking into issues of books and pencils, as well as sponsor some of the children who do well in their exams,” he said.
He called on the government and other well-wishers to support rural schools get physical infrastructure to give students a conducive learning environment in order to enable them to compete favourably with their counterparts in urban centres.
“There is need to harmonise and bring all schools to the same level. It seems that some are getting a lot of support and I encourage any organisation or the government to look into the schools that are not at par with the others because there is a very big gap,” he said.
On his part, Kioko, who runs a chain of businesses in Kilifi County known as Kioko Enterprises, said he and his family had donated the six-door toilet after visiting the school and noticing the suffering of teachers and pupils.
“We were very much touched by the situation of the toilets so we took it over together with the Rotary Club and built the toilets. When we were doing the toilets, we realised there were no desks in the classrooms. Many of the children were sitting on stones and writing on their laps and this touched us also,” he told journalists at the school.
He said his family made 27 desks while the Rotary Club of Malindi made 53, making a total of 80 desks, without telling the school community that they were making the desks.
Kioko also urged the government to treat all schools equally by ensuring that they have adequate learning infrastructure since all learners in the country sit common examinations at the end of the studies in their respective schools.
The school head teacher thanked the club for the gesture and urged other well-wishers to assist the rural school in order to enable the institution that has 356 pupils to post better results in national examinations.
His sentiments were echoed by Patience Kwekwe, a parent at the school, who said the school had had an acute shortage of desks and other learning materials.
Ms. Kwekwe at the same time urged the government to start a lunch programme for learners at the school since there had been a total crop failure due to a prolonged dry spell that has been experienced in the area.
By Emmanuel Masha