A Bedding Project to enable 160 Masai children to go to school!!


Habari!! (which means "How are you?" in Swahili) I’m Satoshi working in Loitokitok, Kenya. I’m in charge of a project to enhance the quality of primary education. Mr. Laban working in Masai NGO, Mr. Selengia a head teacher of Olbili primary school and I are setting up a new project to provide the opportunity for 160 Masai children to take primary education. We create safe and effective environment for their education in this project. 


Children in Masai village


The Olbili’s difficulty between tradition and education


Do you know Masai? Masai is a tribe in Kenya which has nomadic life with livestock and migrates once a dry season comes. Their nomadic life is really hard and half of them live on less than US$1.25 a day called extreme poverty. Also there are so many difficulties in educational space such as shabby school buildings, the shortage of teachers, the lack of infrastructure and no fence to protect children from wild animals.  


Masai looking after livestock


However, Olbili primary school has a more serious problem. It is really difficult for children in this school to continue their education because of migration. In dry season, they have to move to other places to pursue water until rainy season comes again in their place, and they cannot go to school while migration for half a year. Although they come back to the same place in rainy season and re-enrol in the same school, most of them stay back a year or drop out the school as they cannot catch up the class. 


Olbili primary school


Children leaving the school become adults without education and qualification, so it is very hard for them to find a job. It means they have to remain their poor life. 


4th grade students studying English


7th grade students in a class


Other problems caused by tradition 


Also, they have to face the threat to their life on the way to the school. Although Olbili primary school is situated near the Amboseli National Park, they can meet wild animals such as lions, hyenas and elephants even outside of the park. Actually a Masai lady was killed by an elephant last September and these kind of accidents are often happened there. 


Early pregnancy and marriage are also serious issues in Masai area. Masai’s consciousness about them get changed bit by bit because of amended laws and lots of NGOs’ activities, but both of them are still there. For example, a 13 years old girl got married to a 70 years old man in exchange for 50 cows. In other school, there is a pregnant girl who will drop out the school, because she has to give a birth and do household works as a wife and a mother. 


1st grade girls studying Swahili


Construction of a dorm to protect children


Therefore, Mr. Selengia has planned to construct a dormitory, as it enables children to accommodate there and keep their study without any interruption. Also it can protect children from the rick of commuting to the school and early pregnancy and marriage.


Although it costs US$70k, the construction of the dorm is almost done thanks to lots of aids, but one thing has been left. There is the lack of money to install 80 beds for 160 children, which costs US$13k. The only thing needed now is beds. As scorpions and venomous insects exist in this area, they cannot sleep on the floor.


The positive effect of having a dorm for the quality of education is also proved. In Kenya, all 8th grade students have to take exam at the end of final term. Just a few out of 90 primary schools have a dorm in Loitokitok, and the gap of the exam score between schools having and not having a dorm is huge in 5 subjects such as Swahili, English, Mathematics, Science and Social study.


5th grade students and a passionate teacher


Collaboration with Masai and Japanese  


Children’ parents have joined this project as much as they can, for instance, they make bracelets to return something to donors to show their thanks. We think it can be opportunities for the parents to address their problems by themselves. We do not want to make our project just philanthropic. 


A mother talking about her child's future


A meeting with Masai mothers


In the conversation with parents, most of them told us that they wanted their children to take education for their future. They said “Children can help us in migration, but education for children is much more important than our burden.”


We hope our project will provide opportunities of education for Masai children and contribute to the development of Kenya. If you interested in the project, please join us. Thanks.


Mr. Selengia, Satoshi, A lady teacher and Mr. Laban


6th grade students raising their hands to answer the question