Monday, June 18, 2007

Humble Hearts School in Kenya, Angels Covers UK-- in need of children's books with deaf characters!

I first read about the Humble Hearts School in Kenya on the International Deaf Children's Society website. I contacted Jane after reading the article hoping that I would be able to both encourage others to send books and send books with deaf characters to the children myself.

The following is some information that I learned about the school and the woman who established it.

In 2003, a teacher named Beatrice Anunda (pictured below) became aware of the needs facing deaf children living in the Sinai/Donholm (slum area of Nairobi). Many of the people in this area are not educated and superstitions about deaf children spread. The children in this area have been neglected and abused simply because they are deaf. Beatrice went around explaining to parents that their children had potential and were worth educating.

In 2004, Beatrice contacted the International Deaf Children's Society (IDCS) and soon received attention from Angel Covers. An increase in funding allowed the school to purchase a small amount of land and build a modest school building.

With commitment from the teachers and the desire of these children to learn, the school then was able to accept the hearing siblings of deaf children. Now, Humble Hearts accepts hearing children from the area. All of the children are taught Kenyan Sign Language, English and Kiswahili.

This school receives no government funding and is run entirely on donations. Only about half of the children are sponsored. Unlike the traditional model of child sponsorship, Humble Hearts sponsors come together to form a cyber PTA and "meet" on a yahoo group forum. Many of the pupils have now reached secondary level. Beatrice has purchased land for a secondary school and one of the targets for 2007 is to raise funds to build this new school. Land has also been purchased for a new Angel Cottage, an orphanage where nearly all the children in the refuge are deaf. Beatrice has taken in 35 children into her own home.

Today Humble Hearts includes 200 pupils, 18 members of staff, 14 classrooms, a library, staffroom and offices. If you would like to help with Angel Covers UK - please contact Jane, by e-mail at or by telephone at 01308 861351. At the moment, they are collecting children's books, especially books with deaf characters. Please contact Jane if you can help in any way. (Click the 'help' button to find out the numerous ways that you can help). If you simply have books that you would like to ship, click here to find out how.

When I contacted Jane she explained, "The school really is amazing and has completely changed attitudes towards deaf children in the area. These children really had zero chance of a future until Beatrice came along". Again, the school runs on a sponsorship system. It costs $20 a month. Jane is a sponsor and she writes, "It is so rewarding. A child can be sponsored by a group as well as an individual.... We have just had two new deaf children in need of urgent sponsoring. We try to get the deaf children sponsored first as their needs are greater". Humble Hearts School is fortunate to have a team of hard working and dedicated teachers who are fluent in English, Kiswahili, and Kenyan Sign Language You can sponsor a Deaf Education teacher for just $15 a month (pictures of teachers and staff pictured above). If you are a teacher yourself, then why not consider supporting one of the Humble Hearts teachers?

Angel Covers UK is a sister charity to Angel Covers in the States and both are volunteer organizations. The main focus in the UK is Humble Hearts and their orphanage/refuge, Angel Cottage...the US charity covers many other projects.

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