Nicki and I took these Crane Academy photographs during a trip to Kenya in 2017 when, as Head of Mathematics at the Royal High School in Bath, she and Head of Biology Jill Haynes spent part of their sabbatical there.
The Crane Academy is situated in the west of the country not far from Uganda and Mount Elgon. It educates girls up to eighteen and boys up to thirteen. The link between the Crane and the RHS began when a former Head Girl visited in her gap year. Struck by the happiness of the staff and students despite obvious hardship, she wanted to raise awareness of the school within the RHS community. Registrar Linda Bevan went to the Crane in 2007 to consolidate links that led to our visit.
The school’s headmaster, photographed in a white waistcoat, is Angulu Kennedy. Along with management team member Margaret Chungali, photographed with Nicki and Jill, he strives constantly to improve the school. Margaret will never accept seeing a girl in pain. In Kenya they are often married, illegally, as young as thirteen, so that parents benefit from what’s known as the bride price. The Crane takes in many of the students because they have no family and would otherwise be destitute. RHS staff and parents sponsor girls through their time at the Crane to ensure that they receive an education. There have been anonymous donations, too, including one to build a science laboratory, for which Jill took equipment. We were also able to take such essentials as medicine, books, writing materials and an all-important football.
RHS girls raise money for the Crane throughout the year. All money gathered goes directly to the school. The RHS has enabled running water on site as well as some electricity by way of a solar-powered battery that allows lights after dark. Since our visit, the Crane has received gifts from the parents of RHS student, Evie Clover. Evie had planned to do a sponsored swim for the Crane but became terminally ill before she could complete it. Her parents have provided new toilet facilities for the infants and sponsor the Crane’s Evie Clover Prize in her memory.