I’ve just come back from a place called Ilmarba where we’ve been working in this great little school called Olmoti. It’s next to Amboseli National Park. I’ve told you this before, I think, but anyway, when we started work there in 2004, there were about 70 children in the school. And yet, we found many others out herding goats or fetching water. For Born Free, this wasn’t great. Because we’re educating the community about wildlife conservation, when children don’t go to school, it’s harder for them to get the message.
So we pledged to help build up the school infrastructure and lobby the government to get more teachers on condition that the community brought more children to school. The community were delighted.
We started small, first renovating the existing classrooms and an old dorm that was falling down. The community said that if the school could be turned in to a boarding one, with a place for the children to sleep, then more could attend classes. By January 2006 the number of kids in school doubled and continued to go up throughout that year.
We introduced a group of sponsors interested in supporting the community, through what Born Free calls the ‘Global Friends Programme’. We raised the money we needed to put in a second dorm so that both boys and girls could sleep in school. Also because the number of kids was increasing practically everyday, we built more classrooms. At the same time, the Government, through the District Education’s Office provided more teachers to cope with the increase in enrolment. There was a lot of progress in 2007.
Now there are 282 children enrolled at the school – with about 180 using the boarding facilities! There are 4 new classrooms and a brand new dorm and in total, the school has 8 classrooms and 2 dorms. Which is exactly what they wanted.
You should have seen the faces of the little children when we drove in there last week accompanied by the people who had sponsored all the new developments! I hope the pics I took of my colleague Manoa and the children, show the joy we saw.