1. I had my first fundraising open studio weekend at my apartment in September as a new member of Green Door Artists here in South Lakes. I had no idea what to expect as people had not only to find me but negotiate a secure entry system, corridors and the slowest lift on the planet. In spite of these obstacles I had 55 visitors and raised a surprising £460 through sales of my artwork and children's book "Quet-zal's tail."
2. The organisers of Sedbergh Book festival invited me to run two creative writing workshops in October with one for adults and one for children. These fundraising sessions were held in Sedbergh school's library which is very dramatic architecturally...a great setting!
3. Now that I have launched myself as a children's storyteller which is another fundraising activity I have had two bookings for children's birthday parties. I took it as a mark of success when one birthday child was asked what she liked best about her party and she replied the storyteller and the cake!
4. I have just returned from a November visit to Senegal. I am delighted to report that the renovated toilets at the first Senegalese school twinned with Old Hutton primary school were ready for pupils and staff to use when they returned to school for Thier new school year. It was a real pleasure to visit and see the work completed. (photo here) The second twinning with Beetham primary school is strengthening and we discussed priorities for repairs with their Senegalese twins. Both staff and pupils at Beetham would like to help their twins. To put it in some perspective Beetham school has approximately 60 pupils and 600 Senegalese twins!
Meanwhile the third twinning with Arnside primary school is in the early stages and I am excited to have brought home a lovely present for Arnside from their Senegalese twins.
5. Finally ...the solar panels. Idrissa Sané my Senegalese counterpart and I both expected work to start on the solar panel installation at the first Senegalese school in May. At the moment we are still waiting for some unexpected paperwork to allow us permission to undertake the work. This involves pieces of paper sitting on a long successive line of desks waiting to be rubber stamped. Future plans include making Imagine Senegal a Senegalese charity and the paperwork has already been started for this process. We will be able to undertake all kinds of work with less delays once this happens. There will also be people to continue my work in the future.
Until the next newsletter, best wishes and thank you very much for your support.
Earlier this year I went Casamance in Southern Senegal. I visited Ataba Tabar Primary School in Ziguinchor for the second time with Idrissa Sané my counterpart in Senegal. They are twinned with Beetham Primary School near Kendal.
We are discussing ways of supporting this school to repair the classroom roofs and toilets. The schools have again have exchanged photos and newsletters.
I was delighted to visit the third twinning school Amitie Senegal Canada in Ziguinchor for the first time with Idrissa Sané He developed the initial link with the second and third twinning schools for Imagine Senegal. This third twinning is with Arnside Primary School near Kendal. Both schools have had previous experience of twinning which was started optimistically and unfortunately faded and stopped. We are determined to have a positive twinning experience for both schools. In fact I only visited Arnside Primary School 2 days before I flew to Senegal at the end of February!
Meanwhile the first twinning project between Old Hutton Primary School and Joachim Fode Ndiaye Primary School in Joal, Northern Senegal goes from strength to strength. Work has finally started on renovating the toilet block for pupils and staff. Idrissa will be visiting the project and his visit is going ahead for the end of May. He will send us video footage and photos. The much awaited work on solar panel installation is planned to start at the same time.
Third twinning goes ahead!
Imagine Senegal is excited to announce that Arnside Primary School in Cumbria started the third twinning project at the end of February. Claire Griffel and Idrissa Sané visited the Senegalese twins in March at Amitié Sénégal Canada Primary School. Looking forward to photos and more details.
I have some news about the fundraising work under the Imagine Senegal banner.
I visited the first twinning project in Joal, Northern Senegal in November 2017. Joachim Fode N'Diaye Primary School is twinned with Old Hutton Primary School, near Kendal. Headteacher Oumar Doing shared his serious concerns about the toilets which his pupils are unable to use. While I was there I was able to offer financial support for a caretaker to work at the School.The Parent Teacher Association will then takeover this funding with a request for minimum payments from parents each month.
Idrissa Sané my counterpart has now sent funds to start the masonry work for the toilets. The plumbing work will follow and then security for the classroom doors. Idrissa will then visit Joal to photograph and video this work and then supervise the solar panel installation. He will also of course photograph and video this.
Idrissa estimates that we may need to find up to an additional £1000 for the full installation which will then enable our twins to actually use the computers that were donated to them before Imagine Senegal became involved.... but which can't be used... don't quote me on that figure by the way!
Idrissa has done a great job of negotiating since I left and says that Oumar is feeling very much encouraged by our response to his problems. It has been a discouraging start to his relatively new position as Headteacher. In particular he is delighted that we have listened to his concerns. I think this is an important development in the strength of the twinning. Old Hutton Primary School children, parents and teachers have worked hard to raise funds for this work. There is a buzz of excitement when I visit!
With best wishes and thanks for your support, Claire
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