Newsletter March 2015

(Above photo – one of the local Maasai puts his cow into the school grounds during the day to keep her separated from her calf. We have learnt to expect the unexpected at the school)

The Charity is only 5 years old,  but we have already seen some great improvements around Olepolos Kenya through working with our partners in the Maasai community. Now, 155 of the poorest children are receiving an excellent education at the school we built, there are 2 sources of clean water, a health clinic, and we have repaired 7 broken hand pumps. During 2015, we are launching 2 new programmes: an orphanage come safe house and a project to turn sunlight into food.

Our school meals are looking a whole lot greener. We are growing enough onions, kale, spinach, beetroot and peppers to feed 165 children and staff  twice a week. That’s no mean achievement for novice gardeners. The success of the school project plus some money from a donor for agriculture and water projects has started what might turn out to be a life saving new venture – the turning of sunlight into food (via electricity and water).

Our caretaker, Wambua, tending the school’s vegetables.
Our caretaker, Wambua, tending the school’s vegetables.

Local land owners are donating 5 separate plots of 1 acre. On each plot, we will supply a solar powered borehole and split the 1 acre into 50 allotments for use by the poorest in the community. The water will irrigate the allotments and be sold to the local community. The money raised will pay for the bore-hole maintenance.   The mothers will be able to feed their families with what they grow and maybe even sell the surplus at the market. It is potentially lifesaving because drought (happening so often) means there is often no food here whatsoever.

The Clinic is up and running. Over 1000 school children have been de-wormed. Two community health workers aged 21 have been walking long distances to evaluate health. Men are often out or away with their animals so it’s the women and children who are checked. They have diagnosed 3 cases of diabetes, now being treated and have dressed a serious dog bite. Ringworm next please! Every child at school seems to have it as we see when their hair is shaved. School rule: hair must be plaited close to the head or shaved.

A girl being given a hair cut by the head teacher.
A girl being given a hair cut by the head teacher.


Picture a teacher straddling a pit toilet, showing 25 new four year olds how to use a toilet.  Starting school is always scary but even more so when the school is so different from your mud hut home. Around 60% of the huts have no access to a toilet so the children come to school not knowing what to do. Oh the joys of being a teacher. We cannot remember writing that in the job description.

We are often asked about FGM (female genital mutilation), a pre-marriage ritual across Africa from around age 13. Until now we have not needed a policy because all our school girls have been young. Since Kenyan law banned FGM it has ceased in many urban areas and it has diminished in rural areas. At our school, we are aiming for zero FGM. To protect our girls we will be using a multi-pronged approach:

  • We will be teaching girls to know their rights and to give them confidence.
  • We will ask AMREF, a charity with much experience and success of working with the Maasai, to hold a forum for parents to educate them on the risks and the law.
  • We will tell parents that if any girl undergoes FGM, the school will inform the police.
  • We will tell parents that if any girl is subject to FGM we will expel their son from school. This is tough but anyone wanting early marriage for their daughters is not serious about education.
  • Finally we will build a safe house and orphanage at the school for any girl in our care at risk. We will start fundraising for this project soon to have it built before next year. Our oldest girl is aged 11.

We want zero FGM at our school and hope that the spin-off will be greatly diminished FGM in the wider community.


Help - everyone wants our water!
Help – everyone wants our water!

Our solar powered  bore-hole is under siege. We built it for the school and the surrounding community. However, the 2 bore-holes in the closest town of Kisamis are both broken due to bad maintenance and poor management, so people come to us by foot, bike, bring donkeys or send a motorbike taxi to collect water. We sell water for about 3p for 20 litres. This covers the maintenance cost of the bore-hole.

We are always happy when a sponsor meets their sponsor child. Eric had a wonderful visit meeting Siamanta. We don’t know who was most lost for words or most shy but they soon got on like a house on fire. She invited Eric to her hut to meet the family and share tea.

Meeting Siamanta’s family. Siamanta in red.
Meeting Siamanta’s family. Siamanta in red.

Eric will be taking some of the burden off Roger by managing the pump repairs project. We hope to repair around 50 broken hand pumps over the next 12 months.

If any sponsor would like to visit their child, there is now some good ‘Western style’ accommodation close to the school. Just speak with us.

Helen and Roger March 2015


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

12 thoughts on “Newsletter March 2015”

  1. I am full of admiration for your work and providing education in the widest sense.
    Educating and giving advice on water supplies and crops is amazing in itself but taking on the problem of FGM is courageous and I wish you well.
    This is education in the true sense of the word.

  2. I too am full of admiration. This is such a credible, effective project, committed to keeping up achievements and adding new initiatives. I am so glad Eric has come on board to help. Showing your commitment to feeding and educating the people builds up trust and enables you to influence change in moral ways too. I wish you all every success.

  3. Diana, the girl in the picture is very happy at the school and her results were shown to me by her teacher, she is top of the class in most of her subjects. To my delight she allowed me to visit her and her family at her home. She is gaining in confidene through her education and I can only encourage sponsors to come to Kenya to see the benefit their contributions are making to the lives of these children. I tagged a Safari onto to the end of my trip and to see the animals in the wild in their environment was an unforgetable experience.

    1. I am so pleased to read how well Diana has done both at school and in her self confidence. I have just started to sponsor a little girl, Nenshikon, who has just started at the school. Naturally she is finding it all strange, probably Diana did as well, but I’m sure that one day in the future with all the care and love the teachers give, that Nenshikon will also come shining through.
      It is wonderful what the Osiligi Charity is achieving. Thank you.

  4. Wow, it all sounds great. I too am glad you are tackling FMG, although I think I shall have to delete that bit from your newsletter to my class. We haven’t got to sex education yet so that would be in at the deep end for us!!!

  5. I am so happy to hear of the ongoing work, and especially pleased to know that FGM is progressively being discouraged !

  6. As always, thoroughly impressed with the sterling work you do, and the regular newsletters which keep us all up-to-date.
    I’m really proud to be a tiny part of such a wonderful charity, and very much hope to be able to arrange a visit over the next couple of years myself – where I hope I will be able to make myself useful too, albeit for a short period of time!
    Keep up the excellent work.

  7. We feel privileged to be able to play a (very small) part in the wonderful work that is being done by Osiligi Charity Projects. The example you set of how to run such an effective project sets standards that other charitable organisations should adhere to, instead of glorifying themselves and wasting huge amounts of money on glossy PR and unsustainable projects (e.g. the bore-hole wells in Kisimis and elsewhere that are badly maintained with ineffective training to maintain them). We have every confidence that your plans to expand will succeed, and take every opportunity that we can to recommend to others that they, too, should be sponsors.

  8. Rather than being top-heavy and losing its way, this is such a ‘real’ charity, which is what, from my point of view, makes it so rewarding to help. Well done, to everyone.

  9. Hello…. Thanks for the latest newsletter and what an inspiration you are to us in our comfortable English homes with all our water….
    The garden and bore holes must make such a huge difference to peoples lives. Well done
    Blessings on your projects
    Rosa James

  10. Coming from the local location of the school, its just amazing to have 1st hand experience on how the charity is touching lives in this part of the forgotten world. I find it a bit mean for Rogers and Helen to cover too little in the newsletter from what they are doing on the ground. Anytime I’ve visited the school there’s always a beehive of activities from Rogers on rooftops of classes fixing the solar panels, visiting the landowners of the allotment plots for the ‘turning sunlight into food project’ etc. to Helen in meetings with community opinion leaders laying strategies on making FGM a complete thing of the past, meeting education advisers to have the best reading culture in the school and the list is endless. God will reward you in his own way to say the least.

  11. I am right there with you and our friends. Thank you for caring. God bless the children and their grown ups.

Comments are closed.