We love the motto of Maasai Mara High School,"Dream, Pursue, Achieve," but how can they do it without resources?
Maasai Mara Public Schools Initiative
We believe that public schools should have the same resources as more privileged private schools, but in too many places, that dream could not be further from reality. In the Maasai Mara, we develop libraries and other resources at public schools most in need. We work closely with teachers to determine what's needed — with high standards of quality and relevance — and then purchase everything in Kenya through our partner Text Book Centre in Nairobi. We also run workshops to train teachers and students to maintain the resource and to create programs that will inspire the next generation to read, learn, and grow; and we hold follow-up assessments to gauge impact and see where the resource can be improved.
We renovated a neglected building in the center of Aitong Primary's campus and converted it to a library and learning center with 2000 books, digital resources, and conservation materials for 1100 students. This is now a model for future primary school libraries.
After working with Mara Girls Leadership School for several years, we decided to develop a library and learning center right next door at Talek Primary School. This under-resourced school has 1200 students in grades 1 to 8. The library transformed this school and inspired us to do more.
It's not easy making it to high school in the Maasai Mara — and then succeeding. So much is working against young people here: lack of resources, poverty, homes without power or light, homes far away from the schools, no transportation, the basic need to help their rural families survive. Only 11% of students in Narok County enroll in secondary school, and the number is even lower for girls (CIDP Narok 2018-2022).
In 2021 we developed a library at Maasai Mara High School (see a classroom), a boys' school in Aitong with over 300 students, and are planning a science lab for fall of 2022. Our follow-on project will be a library, reading group, and conservation-themed trees project at the all-girls Sekenani High School.
The students at these public high schools are among the most motivated in Narok County. They're here because they've found a way to stay in school — often the first in their families to go all the way, with some even going to university. These motivated young people have overcome many obstacles in their lives to be here, and they deserve the opportunity to learn and grow.