Story written by Jayne Mache
Noah, a father of two, stands in the scantly built structure which his children call a classroom. Made from wooden planks and old metal sheets held together barely by rusted nails. The rudimentary structure stands in a field not too far from their *manyattas. In the makeshift classroom, there are a few broken tables, dilapidated benches, and a chalkboard with a few scribbles on it. The classroom has no floor, and a cold draft of wind wraps around your ankles as you move about. The wind also finding its way into the classroom through the glasses window panes.
“This is my children’s school, they don’t even have proper books to read or write on,” the father explained the poor state of the school.
The school, which does not even have a name, is in a Maasai village deep in Amboseli National Park in Kajiado County where Noah lives with his family. He has lived there all his life, in harmony with the famous wildlife of the park where he also works as a tour guide for the hundreds of tourists every year.
“It’s peaceful here, it’s my home and everything I know is here. However, I worry about my children’s education,” he added.
These were the fears Noah expressed to the Kipepeo Green Heritage team who had come to visit his community. The team had travelled to Kajiado County for a sanitary pad distribution drive to help alleviate period poverty that affects many girls in the county. Noah was one of the community facilitators who assisted the team getting around the area. However, after spending time with him the team realized the community was facing more challenges; and the challenges were about accessing quality education. The school in which his two children and many others attend is a far cry from what a child should call a school; the place to receive quality education.
“What worries me the most is that I know my children will never get the quality of education they need. Do you think they can ever be on the same level as the children in schools in Nairobi who have better facilities and resources? “Noah asked staring at the emptiness of the classroom.
The group stood in silence for a few minutes pondering upon Noah’s question. No matter how they tried to conjure an answer to comfort the father, they knew there were no words to ease his worries. The were cognizant of the fact that a lack of quality education could easily trap someone’s future into an economic abyss without any prospects. Yes, there are many success stories of people who persevere regardless of where life plants them, however we all know that is not always the case. Which is why ensuring that every child has access to basic education is not only a necessity but a human right.
The right to education is a fundamental human right that is shrined in our veins by our very existence. As we all know, education ensures the development of a fully rounded human being, opening various doors of advancements in one’s life. As such, according to the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, in Article 43 (1) (f) and 53 (1) (b), every person has the right to free and compulsory basic education. This is an essential steppingstone for every person as they prepare for the future. However the biggest challenge the Ministry fo Education faces, due to lack of resources, is ensuring that every child receives quality eduction. As a result some schools in far flung areas of the country are severely underfunded.
Nevertheless, regardless of the current state of the educational system, there are many ways people can band together for a common cause. Kipepeo Green Heritage is currently fundraising to build the children a better school. An extra pencil, book, crayons, school shoes or rucksacks, and any school necessities will go a long way to inspiring a child’s life. Can you afford a black/white board with chalk ? How about iron sheets, desks, paint, cement ? Give us a call, and together we can change this world.
*Manyatta – A Maasai traditional settlement consisting of huts and cattle enclosure established by a family or clan.