Milestone birthday helps Africa Fund

By Leah Smith in Community News

Members and volunteers of Norton Down’s Africa Fund have been giving thanks to Jacquie Payne, who asked for donations to the organisation instead of gifts at her recent birthday, raising £569 for the cause.

Jacquie, from Midsomer Norton, recently celebrated her 70th birthday, and she and her husband, Rob, held the party at the Centurion Hotel with the help of their son, Simon, who flew over from Hong Kong. The Catherine Room was beautifully decorated with plenty of Jacquie’s favourite colour – red! Almost one hundred people enjoyed an amazing afternoon.

Jacquie had generously requested donations to the Norton Down Africa Fund charity instead of personal gifts, from friends and relations. Christine Button explained about the charity and how all money donated would be used to support the children in the nurseries.

Norton Down Africa Fund Charity continues to support four Nursery Schools in the Kisumu area of North West Kenya. The charity, founded in 2005, was granted official status with the Charity Commission in October 2006.

Children in Kenya have to attend private nursery school before being accepted to

Government-aided Primary Schools. This excludes many children from ever having the opportunity of an education from poverty-stricken areas.

The first Nursery School was opened in 2008 and is named ‘Alice B’s’ in memory of Alice Barlow, a Norton Down Church member. The second school, ‘Norton Down’ the third, ‘Christine’s’ and the fourth, ‘David’s’, opened in January 2014.

Thirty children attend each school. A meal is provided for each child every school day and they are taught by a fully qualified teacher.

Everything is funded by the charity, including the cost of all school stationery,

teaching aids, cost of exams and interviews, which are needed for entry in to state-funded education. Each child is provided with a school uniform as they continue their education.

We were delighted, when in 2016, with the help of the local ‘Bibles for Children’ Charity, we were able to also present each child with a Children’s Bible, as well as the School uniform when continuing their educational journey at Primary School.

Bibles for Children is a National Children’s Charity, founded in 1997 by Ted

Hudson, from Timsbury. Now in its twentieth year, the work of the charity has spread throughout the United Kingdom. Over 1,900 schools have been helped and half a million boys and girls have received a free Bible.

In recent years, the charity has attracted special funding to help children in schools in Africa. Girls and boys have each received a Bible in Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and now Kenya.

Christine Button