Engadine couple return to Africa to pursue expansion of Kenya Aid school project

Global aid: Engadine's Verity Snaith and her husband Ryan are returning to Kenya to expand their school construction project.
Global aid: Engadine's Verity Snaith and her husband Ryan are returning to Kenya to expand their school construction project.

Some holiday-makers choose to sun themselves on the beach, sleep under the stars in tents or laze around having a relaxing drink with friends. 

Although the new year will be filled with travel and meeting new faces for Engadine’s Verity and Ryan Snaith, their overseas trip will hold deeper meaning.

They are returning to Kenya to build a large community garden at the Shikumu Twydale Memorial Primary School.

Mrs Snaith, a TAFE Digital student who is studying a Diploma of Landscape Design, formed a charity there in 2009, called Kenya Aid, with her husband, Ryan Snaith, a specialist emergency doctor.

It provided funds to purchase land the build a school, which initially had only six students who were unable to attend the local government school. They had lessons in a church, led by a volunteer teacher.

Eight contemporary classrooms made of mud were eventually replaced with permanent brick classrooms. 

Construction of the school is almost complete. Two classrooms, a kitchen and an additional toilet block are yet to be built.

Solid ambition: The Shikumu Twydale Memorial Primary School in Kenya.

Solid ambition: The Shikumu Twydale Memorial Primary School in Kenya.

Mrs Sniath says fresh produce from the permaculture project will provide lunch to 200 children a day.

It will also offer an income stream for community members, and enable HIV positive patients at the hospital access to fresh food.

“Each trip to Kenya has shown how small actions have lasting impacts on the lives of the people in that community,” she said.

“[My studies have also] provided me with the knowledge I need to make the project a success. From conducting an accurate site analysis right through to selecting plants that suit the climate and site conditions.

“I am in consultation with our Kenyan program co-ordinator to compile a list of locally available plants suited to the site conditions to incorporate into the design. From there I’ll develop the final design, costing and works schedule and Kenya Aid will set a fundraising goal based on the outcome.”

The school has had great success, and 17 of its graduates went on to complete further education. 

“It’s a phenomenal rate for one of the most impoverished areas in Kenya,” Mrs Snaith said.

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