Northampton school's fund is gift of hope

A Kenyan charity worker was reduced to tears when a Northampton school announced it had raised more than £3,500 to help her build a school for orphans in her home country.

St Gregory's Catholic Primary School in Eastfield held an assembly yesterday to present the grand total of 3,533, raised over two months, to Wangari Cecilia, aged 35, who splits her time between Northampton and Naivasha in Kenya, where she grew up.

She tearfully told the assembly at the Grange Road school: "On behalf of these children (in Kenya] I would like to thank you.

"You have given them hope and an education. I would like to tell you that I would like the school to be called St Gregory, and in future, they will be talking about why they are called St Gregory."

Wangari has been helping orphaned children in Kenya for at least two years. She is currently supporting 11 orphans through their education, and has spent 8,000 of her own money to buy the land she hopes to build the school on.

Seven other women she met through Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Wellingborough joined her in her mission in January, one of whom was Estelle Crasto, who used to be a governor of St Gregory's and got in touch with headteacher, Eamonn McMorrow, to ask for fundraising help.

The children were initially given a target of 1,000, and held events such as a sponsored fun run, weekly cake sales and a name the bear competition.

Wangari told the Chron she was born into a poor family with nine brothers and sisters in Kenya, and her family could not afford to educate her.

She was chosen by a missionary priest from Italy to be one of the children he could educate.

She said throughout her life she has seen orphans with no education searching bins for food, going into prostitution to get money to support their brothers and sisters, and catching HIV as a result.

She said of the money raised by the school: "It's unbelievable, it was beyond my expectation.

"They have given these children value."

Building work will start at the school once 20,000 has been raised, and in order to complete the work, the project will need to reach 100,000.

& Anyone who would like to donate to the project can do so by contacting the school on Northampton 403511.