In 2012 some members of Fundy Peace Foundation (FPF) visited the Oloolaimutia Primary school in the Masai Mara region of Kenya. They learned that to go on to high school, children must rank highly on a national exam. They also learned that even though children from this school may show the ability, many cannot attend because families are too poor to pay the $600 annual fee. In response, FPF set up a scholarship fund to support eligible students to further their education. The school also expressed a desire for more girls to complete elementary school and thus become eligible to go on to high school.
There are over 800 students at the school. Boys outnumber girls and this ratio increases as the children get older. Many children in villages near the school do not attend school even though primary education (pre-kindergarten to grade 8) is now free in Kenya. Often girls stop attending school due to mounting barriers: no uniforms, no sanitary pads, unsafe travel to and from school, and families’ need to marry off daughters to acquire livestock.
The Oloolaimutia Primary School has become a boarding school for its students in class 7 and 8, in an attempt to overcome some of these barriers. Donations from FPF are helping to keep girls in school by assisting with their boarding fees. Though boarding conditions are quite meagre (thin foam mattresses with a single blanket on a cracked cement floor), this provides students with a space to prepare for their final exams and keep them safe from the hazards of walking to and from school. FPF has also helped provide sanitary pads and recently sponsored the construction of a separate toilet for the girls…with a door!
Several students have now completed and more are in the process of completing high school, thanks to sponsors supporting this FPF initiative. They dare to dream about having opportunity and choice in their futures and speak confidently about becoming doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, and architects. Our first student has gone on to train as a teacher and is now working in an isolated area to provide education to other children.