Derby High School students and staff raised £25,000 to pay for a hall at the Woodard Langalanga Senior School in Kenya. The Derby chaplain Reverend Rachel Barrett attended the official dedication event in Kenya when the hall was declared open.
“The event ran from about 11am until 3pm and there was entertainment, a traditional folk dance and speeches,” she said. “Plaques were unveiled which listed the donors, with Derby High School at the top. It was just incredible to see the hall completed. It holds about 1,000 children and it will be their all-in-one space for assemblies, lunchtimes and performances and it’s also being used by the local community. It was actually said by some people that they’ve seen nothing like this outside Nairobi and everyone is so grateful, not just for the hall, but also for the fact that we’ve remained in contact. We are going to keep that contact going and actually see how the hall is used.”
Rachel also visited the school’s feeder primary schools and met pupils who will eventually use the hall.
Denise Gould, headteacher at Derby High School in Hillsway, Littleover, said that everyone was delighted that the hall was complete: “We hope the hall will make a real difference to the children who attend the school and we are thrilled that we contributed to making their dream become a reality. The hall looks fantastic and we are sure it will play a major part in school life.”
Fundraising events held at Derby High School for the hall included one primary school teacher raising £500 after she agreed to be gunged following a series of challenges, while pupils from the primary department collected more than £600 by taking part in a sponsored curiosity challenge. Another fundraiser involved each senior school student being asked to see if they could use their talents and entrepreneurial spirit to ‘grow’ £2 into a larger sum of money. Students raised more than £6,000 through a variety of projects, including selling handmade surgical hats to NHS staff, taking part in a sponsored tandem bike ride and cleaning windows. An Arabian-themed night raised more money and students sold their artwork, raising £543 for the appeal.
Retired army colonel Harry Vialou Clark and his wife Alison are founders of the Kariandusi Trust, which has built the Woodard Langalanga Senior School in Kenya. The couple have visited Derby High School twice to deliver assemblies about the project and Colonel Vialou Clark also attended the dedication event in Africa.