“Meeting the challenges of walking barefoot to school, avoiding hyenas and searching for water”
Barriers to education, Early childhood development, Girls' education, Right to education
Mila tells how she is grateful for efforts to make life easier and education more accessible for the children of pastoralists in Kenya.
My name is Mila. I am in class six and I came to Letoire Primary School in 2009.
Our school is in the interior of Kajiado Central and the challenges we face here are water, food and also the long distance that we walk to school.
During rainy season some of the children cannot come to school because the main road is flooded and they cannot pass. They have to wait till the water has gone down.
It has been a challenge for me and most of the children in our community, walking barefoot to school in a dry land.
Girls drop out due to early marriages. And because our community members are pastoralists, during dry season they move with their families – which includes some students – to search for water for our many cows. This is really bad for the children, who have no option.
The other challenge, especially for preschool children going to school or after they leave school, is being attacked by hyenas. Animals such as elephants also pass by.
We are always advised, especially at night, not to go outside the house. The parents who can afford to pay for a motorbike to take their children to school do so – but the ones who are not capable have to take them to school.
I personally feel lucky that the county government have agreed to build a bridge, which will help the children who cross the road from the other side of the valley to come to school.
They will not miss school and I get to play with my friends after class the way I want.
The second thing I am happy about is that the county government has built three early childhood development (ECD) classrooms and employed one ECD teacher to come and teach the little babies in our school.
There are two organisations also that have been very supportive in our school and I would like to thank them for having our best interests at heart.
One is Feed the Children, who in 2016 constructed a greenhouse in our school and also trained all our teachers on how to plant crops which will be resourceful to our school.
They also introduced a feeding programme where they provide porridge to the whole school every day, which means the families who are pastoralists do not have to migrate to other places in search for water and food.
They dug wells for the greenhouse so our school now has water for use to drink. They kept solar lamps surrounding the greenhouse at night so that when an elephant passes by at night it does not like light and it will not destroy the greenhouse.
The opportunities given to me I do not take for granted, since children like me in areas like Turkana, Samburu and Marsabit only dream of them.
So I am working hard to become a pilot to change the condition of my family and our community, which is slowly growing in terms of education compared to the 42 tribes in my country.
- Mila was interviewed by Faith Ochora, an early child development advocate from Kenya