Last Summer and Fall the government built a nice classroom for the Emburbul preschool students. In addition, a safari tourist came by in November, and gave the school some note books and chalk boards. In January 2018, thirty-three preschool students started the new year in their school. Then, a few weeks later, another 39 kids came to join the preschool. The seating capacity of the preschool is 45. So 27 students do not have seats.
We think the reasons there are so many additional students are: 1) we purchased uniforms for primary school students; 2) we are sponsoring some of the students in schools where they will learn English or advance some other way through school, in contrast to the current system where less than half of rural students get into high school; 3) the primary students started going to public boarding school, where not only do they get an education, but are fed more than what their parents can provide. So these three actions have inspired children to do well in school, and parents to support the education of their children.
The answer to the lack of space in the classroom is to build another classroom. The government has not offered to build it, so we are hoping Engineers Without Borders USA will build it.
Last year Maasai Harmonial donors funded uniforms for all of the new girls and some of the new boys. When the school year ended in 2017, the teacher said that the Maasai Harmonial kids did the best of all the students, and the girls did better than the boys!
We are very pleased with these results. They show that even small investments can help kids get through school. We hope that small incentives and small improvements can be made to the school system, and this will help the kids get through high school. Currently, only half of all kids in Tanzania make it into high school because they can’t pass the national exam. Pastoral kids have an even lower chance of getting into high school because they start with the Maasai language, Maa, and then have two additional languages to learn. They live in remote areas and get little chance to practice a second and third language.
We are especially interested in getting girls through high school because then they are much less likely to be forced into an early marriage and genital cutting. Girls who have finished high school are more likely to know their rights, know how to space their children, and to know what it takes to raise healthy children and prepare them for an education.
This year we continued to sponsor three girls in early primary English boarding school and three girls in a high school that takes girls who could not pass the national exam.
In addition, we have found a school that will take Class 6 (6th grade) girls, put them in a public school, and tutor them in English and life skills in an after-school/weekend program. The program has had success in giving girls three years worth of education in two years. We are sponsoring two girls. If this works, we hope to send more girls through this program.
Another area in which we hope to make improvements is a classroom for early primary students, too young to go to public boarding school 4 miles (7 km) away. We may ask Engineers Without Borders for two classrooms instead of just the one we want for the additional preschool students.
This year we are also going to purchase health insurance for all the students in primary and preschool, as well as for the married girls of school age. We are also going to encourage adults to go to health classes, when we work out the details with another NGO who runs the classes. Health classes will not only help with general health, but will make women aware of the health advantages of spacing their births, and will make men feel more engaged with their wives health.
If you would like to help fund our education programs, please go to Help support Maasai kids education! It is vital!