The above photo shows last year’s school intake of adorable 4 year olds. Their pristine school uniforms will not stay clean for long.
Hot off the press: The Primary School Exam Results (KCPE) have just been announced. Our school has excellent results and is number 2 out of around 130 schools in the Kajiado West sub-county. Our highest mark was 416, the same as the top performing school in the county. The highest mark in Kenya was 433. Many of our pupils are now eligible to go to the best performing secondary schools in Kenya. When you consider that these children are all from the poorest backgrounds, most with illiterate parents, who would not have gone to school without their sponsors’ help, this is an amazing achievement.
We mentioned in the last newsletter that the school had been closed for most of 2020 due to Covid-19. The Government allowed 2 classes to return at the end of the year and all classes to restart in January 2021. The 2 lost school terms will be regained over the next 3 years via shorter school holidays. Our next class of 4 year olds will be starting in July. We need 25 new sponsors to support this class. Can you be one of them? (see the end of this newsletter for details).
It is a year since we were first sent this photo from the Maasai community. Covid has hit every country in the world but Kenya has been fortunate in that the death rate has been relatively low so far, although a 3rd wave has just begun. Schools are set to start the next term in May. We will wait to see if this actually happens.
In March the charity reached an important milestone: our oldest pupils who started in 2012 finished their Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education. Maths, the first paper, caused a few nerves but once in the swing Teacher Rispa said all pupils were “full of enthusiasm, so positive about the questions and had hopes of doing well.” All other pupils and staff were banned from the premises during the exams, a Kenya wide rule to prevent teachers divulging the papers to pupils or helping with the exams. Only external invigilators can be on site and since applying this new rule we note that grades in many of the top performing private schools have slipped. A private school can charge much more if they are top of the exam tables. It’s extraordinary that the entire class actually sat those exams. Dropping out of school is very common in our Maasai community due to lack of money for fees, pregnancy and cultural reasons. This success is thanks, in large part, to our sponsors for their financial support and to the staff for their tireless effort and encouragement. Osiligi rarely gets involved in secondary school but our sponsors and pupils are all keen to continue so we will trial it with this class. Our school has a reputation for excellence so all eyes are now on the results of our flagship class. No pressure there!
Prior to exams it was nose to the grindstone with, to us, a punishing revision schedule: 5.30 am to 9pm, six days a week for many weeks. Pupils had to fit in handwashing school uniforms and cleaning their dormitory but this isn’t unusual in Kenya. Class 8 and their teachers had surely earned a rest from books so we gave them a day of fun and swimming at the local country club just before the exams. During the weekends, the club is usually only the preserve of wealthy Nairobi business men and their families. For our pupils, now aged 15 and 16, this was their first time in a pool – girls in the paddling pool and boys in the deeper one. Naturally no one owned a swimming costume.
We are happy to repair broken pumps anywhere but we are especially pleased when we are asked to repair one at a school or clinic. We know that a school pump will give water to pupils and staff at the school but many will also serve the local community so the 1 pump may supply more than 1000 users. The other advantage of a school pump is that it will have a local management committee that will look after the pump for many years to come. Since starting the pump repair project, we have now repaired more than 1200 broken pumps.
Actually, our own school pump broke down for a few days so the children were set to work fetching water from a village hand pump about 1Km from the school. We installed this pump about 11 years ago. It is still in daily use. You can read about how we constructed it here.
Many people reading this newsletter know the Charity through being entertained by one of the Maasai Warrior tours. For almost 20 years, the Osiligi Maasai Warriors have undertaken an annual UK tour which, besides being a wonderful experience for the audiences, also promotes the work of the charity. Because of Covid, the 2020 and 2021 tours have had to be cancelled. No tour means fewer new sponsors so we are now looking for people who are kind enough to sponsor a child. Only children from the very poorest families are sponsored and for many attending school it is the only time they regularly receive a filling hot meal. The sponsorship cost is £20 a month. The photo above is from 2010 and is of Dadio, an orphan. We sponsored him to attend school soon after this photo. He is one of the class 8 children in the top photo, who has just taken his end of primary exams. We hope to continue sponsoring him through secondary school.
Sponsorship is very rewarding and you are giving a child a chance of an education. You can nominate a boy or girl and you will receive up to date regular reports on your child, drawings and letters from them and the teacher’s class reports throughout the school year. You can send letters to them if you so wish. Each sponsor has their own online folder link where all the letters and drawings as well as photos and teachers reports can be viewed at any time.
New sponsors will receive a Welcome pack. It will include a profile of the child and their family as well as any other information we have. If you can help please contact Tracey at email@example.com or 07719811774 or visit the sponsor page.
So what about the next Osiligi Maasai Warriors Tour? The group is very keen to return and we are hoping to schedule a six-week tour in the late summer/ early autumn of 2022. A full itinerary will be published in the spring of 2022 on the tour website
You are welcome to leave a comment below.
The Osiligi Team, April 2021