Helping Provide Safety and Education to Girls in Kenya

Located in a remote area of Kenya, the Ilkeek Aare Primary and Boarding School serves the semi-nomadic Maasai children in the region. As the lifestyle of these children’s families required perpetual moving around following the grazing grounds of their cattle, many of the Maasai children previously did not graduate from school.

Old School houseThanks to a LCIF grant, the boarding school now serves 500 children with 12 classrooms, dining halls, library, teacher’s room, visitor guest homes, and furnished girl and boy dormitories. The grant supplemented outside donations over the last 10 years from the Lions in Germany and Lions in Kenya to make the project a reality.

Before the boarding school existed, the Maasai children only attended the day school for about three months per year, since their family was semi-nomadic. In the dry season, children needed to walk up to 18 miles with their parents to find food for the herds. In 2012, the school only served 60 children without proper facilities and a dilapidated structure.

Now, the boarding school allows the children to study at the school all-year round and complete exams even if their family moves on.

“Our Maasai children now have the opportunity to learn all-year round, despite the nomadic way of their families, because of the good classrooms and other vital facilities in the schools,” said Michael Tenges Muntet, project coordinator.  “Especially for the girls, a boarding school is a place of security. It provides protection against the violence on the otherwise long path to school.”

Unfortunately, according to a 2021 report by UN Women, 1 in 2 women reported that a woman that they know experienced violence since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“The Maasai girls face serious problems from female genital mutilation, early marriages, and denial of education, said Kapil Deo Sharma, grant administrator. “The boarding school is helping to reduce these practices and hopefully, over the long-term, eliminate them.”

One student, Samon Kiraison, said, “today we have nice classrooms fully furnished from the bottom of our hearts, we say thank you for helping us to realize our dreams.”

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