These are some pictures of the children at Lokusero Primary School in the Il Ngwesi Maasai community where I was just living for three months in Kenya.
At present, due to a lack of funds, the school is running short two teachers. This means that there are classes which receive only the most minimal instruction and supervision during the day.
For the Maasai community, there are a lot of barriers to success. The roads & infrastructure are poor. Their homes are pretty isolated. But the community is very committed to providing their children with an education. Il Ngwesi runs an Eco-Lodge and the money they receive from tourists for the most part is used to sponsor their children to attend Secondary School in larger centres.
One problem however is that many young people go to Secondary School for one year and then drop out. The main reason is that they find that they are considerably behind their peers. Usually the young people even start school a year or two later than urban children would because this school is located about 7km from the plain where many of the children of the community live. The children must be 7 or 8 years old in order to be physically capable of walking 14 km / day to and from the school.
Two of our Canada World Youth participants were volunteering at the school from January (so for about 5 weeks). They were the ones who approached Kuntai & I to let us know the school was operating without the needed number of staff. We talked to the principal and were told that the government funding did not stretch far enough. When we asked how much it would cost to hire two additional teachers for the remainder of the year, he gave us a figure that converts to about $2000 Canadian.
My goal is to send that $2000 directly to the school. There are a number of local teachers who are not presently working and could be hired quickly to fill the gap. What that $2000 translates for me is 40 generous people willing to give $50, or perhaps 80 generous people willing to give $25 dollars. The gift would be one time (There is another funder in the works who is looking to provide sustainable funds to the school in 2008), and I would not be able to give anyone a tax receipt (as I am not a registered charity or foundation), but unlike gifts made to an organization -- 100% of your contribution would be made directly to the school. The principal has agreed to provide a statement of how the money is spent in return (like a receipt).
If you feel compelled to help out these children, please let me know. The easiest method to get the funds to me would be by e-mail interac money transfer (to firstname.lastname@example.org) or via paypal. If I can collect the money by April 1, 2007 then the teachers can be hired for the beginning of the next term through to the end of the school year in December.
Also, I am presently looking at options for establishing an on-going fundraising/donor relationship with the Il Ngwesi Community. I was really privileged to live with this community for the past three months and it really made me realize that with very little outside support a lot of projects and local initiatives could really benefit. If you're someone who might be interested in a longer term contribution, let me know and I'll keep you in the loop. For the longer term projects I am trying to set something up where the money would be passed along through a charity or foundation so that donors would receive proper tax receipts.
Additionally, I am in contact with a number of children from the school and if you're at all interested in an East African pen-pal that also can be arranged.