Kenya Today Newspaper: ‘A New Learning Gift for the Maasai Girl-Child’

Posted by Sarah Caughey on Fri, 26 Aug 2011 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

An August edition of Kenya Today featured an article about the recent opening of the Oloosuyian Girls’ Secondary School in Kajiado Diocese and the partnership between the diocese and Limavady Grammar School in building this landmark institution.

Here we have reproduced the article…

A New Learning Gift for the Maasai Girl-Child
By Edward Njai and Jane Gicharu

The Kajiado County is celebrating the birth of a new learning institution for girls that is the product of collaboration between the Anglican Church in Kenya (ACK), a Northern Ireland Grammar School and the Ireland Church Mission Society (CMS).

THE ACK Oloosuyian Girls’ Secondary School opened its doors to the first 15 girls in February this year, but the population has since expanded to 24 girls. The girls are learning under the hands of three teachers.

ACK Oloosuyian Girls’ Secondary School comprises four rooms that serve as classroom, staff room, dining room and dormitory and was officially opened on July 2 this year by Limavady Grammar School Principal, Mr Robert Wilson.

Visited

Collaboration between Limavady Grammar School and the ACK Diocese of Kajiado date back to 2001 when the Bishop of Kajiado, the Rt Reverend Jeremiah Taama, while on a tour of Northern Ireland visited the Grammar School. During conversations with students, he enumerated the problems the students had to persevere due to acute water shortage that has turned into the biggest challenge for Kajiado County Residents.

Unknown to him, the students were greatly touched by his story and discussed the issue with teachers as the sought to know ways in which they could help.

The matter spilled outside the school and the entire Limavady community started planning for funds drive walk aimed at solving the problem.

In 2004, Bishop Taama invited a team of 34 people from Northern Ireland comprising students and members of staff of the grammar school to Kajiado. The team spent three weeks in Kajiado and constructed water tanks near a community borehole at Oloiyankalani to enhance water access by the community.

During the visit, the Limavady group learned on their hosts’ cultural practices that were defeating efforts to educate the girl child in Kajiado. This motivated them to continue raising funds through sponsored walks, concerts, car washes and other activities with the aim of building a girls’ school in Kajiado.

The Diocese obtained a 10 acre piece of land at Oloosuyian, about 7 km from Kajiado Town. In 2008, another team from Limavady visited the district to start the foundation for the school before construction of the first four rooms started.

This year, the Limavady Grammar School deployed a team of 28 students aged between 17 and 18 years and 8 members of staff under the leadership of Mr Brian Dunwoody to Kajiado to lay the foundation stone for a dormitory. Speaking at Oloosuyian, Mr Dunwoody said it took the group to years to plan for the trip…The school is supported by churches, the community and charitable groups in Northern Ireland.

During the four week visit to Kajiado in July, the students and teachers from Limavady were guided by a theme, ‘Building Relationships in Developing Girls Education (BRIDGE). They interacted with students at Oloosuyian Girls School by studying together, engaging in games such as soccer and working together at a dormitory project work site where they dug trenches in preparation for the construction. They also laid the foundation stone.

Talking of her experience in Kajiado, 17 year old Emma Priestly, a student at Limavady School, said she was impressed by the warmth of Kajiado residents.“I really admire the hakuna matata (no worries) attitude the people of Kajiado have towards life” she said.

Eighteen year old Patrick Jack, who had previously been to Kenya on safari, said the experience was different from the first visit. “This trip has made us close as a team,” he said, adding that most students on the trip did not know each other well as they had only met along corridors of Limavady School. Patrick said that he has learnt to appreciate what he has. “It is hard to believe that for four weeks, I only survived on basics with no luxuries like Television and computers” he said. He pledged to return to Kajiado to witness the progress of the project.

Members of the visiting team said that they had found the personal experiences of some of the Maasai girls at the secondary school intriguing. Among the most touching was the story of Josephine Tirikia.

At only 15 years, Josephine’s parents had launched plans to marry her off to an elderly man. Buy she fled to seek help from the Children’s Department before she was given refuge from Mrs Priscilla Nanguari, the Acting Principal at New Oloosuyian Girls’ Secondary School, who also admitted her to the institution.

Education is the backbone of every child’s future and parents should grant their children this right regardless of their gender. Josephine, Student of Oloosuyian Girls’ Secondary School.

Josephine is aspiring to become a lawyer so she can defend the rights of other girls in the community facing the retrogressive cultural rites, such as forced early marriages and the female genital cut. She says Oloosuyian School has rekindled her dream of becoming a person of note in the community.“Education is the backbone of every child’s future and parents should grant their children this right regardless of their gender,” she said.

…Although the school faces a number of challenges, including accessibility, the church has assisted in ensuring learning is not unduly interrupted by constraints.

Article taken from Kenya Today, 8 August 2011. Article by Edward Njai and Jane Gicharu. With Thanks.

Please continue to give thanks for the opening of the Oloosuyian Girls Secondary School in Kajiado Diocese in August. Pray for the students and staff, particularly Mrs Priscilla Nanguari as she serves in the role of Acting Principal.

For more information about “Kenya”: http://www.cmsireland.org/work/countries/kenya and “Kajiado Diocese”: http://www.cmsireland.org/work/global_partners/kajiado-diocese, please “click here”: http://www.cmsireland.org/work/countries/kenya.

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