Lending a Helping Hand
Voluntary Work in Kenya
I have always had a passion for helping others, and this experience has in turn helped me to grow! Together with seven other Maltese volunteers, we spent a month in Kenya volunteering on behalf of Right2Smile.
In Kenya, the project collaborators are a community of Maasai in the rural village of Olasiti.
In the beginning, the partnership by Right2Smile set up the 3 early childhood classes – nursery, pre-unit and elementary. With the school being located directly under the Ngong Hills and almost an hour drive away from the next town, it is surrounded by nature and wildlife. This also meant that we needed to make sure the children were safe to play in the land around the school so we fenced the grounds.
With each passing year, the school grows with the older leading class. This year we have built a classroom for Class 3. Each class has books bought locally, for the children to follow the national curriculum.
With the source of water being on the hills behind the village, it was also important for our holistic approach towards community development, to offer services to the whole community. That is why we worked on the storage of water from the source, and brought it to the community, making it a social hub for parents to come closer. Each family has to go fetch and carry water on foot, as there is no direct water connection to the houses. Everyday, you will see every woman of the family go back and forth from the school, at least 3 times, with a 10 litre container, balanced by a sash from her forehead to the bottom of the container. This water is necessary for hygiene, drinking and food making.
The water source was connected directly to the school grounds. This means that the children can now wash their hands before having their daily warm plate of food, provided once a day. Equally important, the women who used to walk 4 to 5 kilometres to the next well before, are now coming to the school. Therefore it brings the parents closer, as they get familiar to the school where their kids attend or could attend.
The Kenyan government has recognized the school in January 2015. Three teachers are employed by the partnership and the government has provided two more and partly assists with the salaries. We have invested in scholarships for these teachers to attain their diplomas, ensuring quality teaching to the children.
The rest of the staff prepares the daily warm meal the children eat for attending school, ensures the upkeep of the school and supports the developments of the structure.
Every year, the kids are taken out for a safari, an activity where they have fun and learn about the Kenyan culture and their wildlife, which is one of their natural heritages. This helps them experience new things that they would otherwise miss by living and being educated, solely in the village.
We also support a school government school in the remote rural village of Ilkilorit, standing at a 4 hour drive, through a dust road, from the next town.
In the last couple of years, we have been working on starting a health programme. We plan to have medical outreach camps to assist with health and are working with volunteers to set up a dispensary for the benefit of the whole community and the surrounding villages.