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14 January 2019
TAFE Digital Diploma of Landscape Design student, Verity Snaith will return to Kenya in 2019 to construct a large-scale community garden at the Shikumu Twydale Memorial Primary School. The school was built as a result of a charity formed by Verity and her husband, Dr Ryan Snaith.
In 2009 the Snaith couple, having formed the registered Australian charity called Kenya Aid, provided the community with the funds to purchase land to build the school, which was originally made up of a group of six students who were unable to attend the local government school. They went to a church sporadically to learn what they could from a local volunteer teacher.
Local and international parents, teachers and friends facilitated the construction of eight temporary classrooms made of mud. Over the last few years these classrooms have been replaced with permanent brick classrooms. Construction of the school is now almost complete – two classrooms, a kitchen and an additional toilet block are all that remain to be constructed.
Ms Snaith said, “When Ryan finished his training to become a specialist emergency physician, it was time for me to start a Diploma of Landscape Design with TAFE Digital.
“Prior to completing the Diploma I didn’t have the skills I now have that allow me to design, implement and manage a large-scale community garden project. However each unit of the Diploma has 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.”
Having conducted a site survey in April 2018, the project is now in its design phase in preparation for planting to begin during their next trip to Kenya in April 2019. “I am currently 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.”
“We anticipate that produce from the permaculture project will provide lunch to 200 children a day, offer an income stream for community members, and allow HIV positive patients at our hospital access to fresh produce which is vital to their ongoing wellbeing,” said Mrs Snaith.
Embarking on Kenya Aid together has been a life altering decision for the Snaith couple. “I am so glad we persevered – each trip to Kenya has shown how small actions have lasting impacts on the lives of the people in that community. Our school was ranked both number 1 and most improved in the district in 2017, and we’ve had 17 graduates go on to further education – a phenomenal rate for one of the most impoverished areas in Kenya.
Media contact: Bonny Gunn, TAFE Digital Media Business Partner. M: 0417 134 048