Thanks to the generosity of guests visiting the conservancies, in December 2017 The Maa Trust has increased its number of sponsored students from 13 to 42, of these number, seven are in secondary school and the rest in primary. Some of the children joining the programme, joined school for the first time in January 2018. Despite their age some of whom are as old as 12 when commencing school for the first time they are catching up fast.
All our scholarship children together listening to our CEO, during the parent meeting.
Every school holiday The Maa Trust, partnering with Great Plains Conservation Foundation, welcome all our student to our Headquarters for a one-week Holiday Conservation Camp. Each Holiday Camp has a different theme and the objective is to let the students understand the importance of conservation. The slogan for this programme is, Education because of wildlife as all students are being supported through school by guests who come to the Mara because of wildlife. We also understand that if the children do not understand the significance of the wildlife and its environment the sustainability of the ecosystems will be at risk. We are therefore raising a generation that will take over conservation in the Mara. Our theme for the April 2018 holiday was elephants. We focused on imparting more knowledge about elephants and the reason why we should protect them. Despite the fact that these children have lived all their lives in the Mara, there are still misconception and lack of information about the animals that they live with. We are glad to share knowledge with them and are grateful to Mara Elephant Project for answering many questions that the youngsters had.
For this holiday club, we decided to divide the children in two groups due to their large number and the difference in class levels. We had the lower classes, from nursery through to class six for the first week and class seven to the end of secondary school for the second week. In the morning hours the children had classes. We have realized through their end of term academic report that most of them are struggling in languages, especially English. We therefore had teachers come in during the morning hours who taught English within the theme of elephants. For example, they read stories in English about elephants. During the afternoon they had a training on life skills where personal leadership, peer pressure and reproductive health were a few of the topics for both groups. The younger children learned that one way to keep elephants away from their homes is to put up a chilli fences. The older kids on the other hand use a GPS to mark the locations of wildlife, especially elephants, on a game drive at Olare Motorogi Conservancy.
A new component to the holiday camp this April, was a celebration with the parents of our students. We want the children’s parents to be part of the drivers of their education life. The positivity of the parents, who were very thankful to all the sponsors who are seeing their children through education, encouraged all of us. In a focus to encourage giving back among the children, we also organized a community clean up activity in Talek. The children enjoyed this action greatly. It was amazing for them to wear rubber gloves for the first time and they understand it is their duty to keep our communities clean. Lastly we had several game drives, thanks to Mara Expedition and Mara Plain Camps tour drivers who gave our children an amazing safari. They saw elephants, a pride of lion hunting among other great animals.
As the children go back to school for their second term of 2018, we are positive they had an educational, enjoyable and most of all safe and secure holiday. The children are all enthused and we are optimistic that their grades will continue to improve. We remain eternally grateful to all the guests who are changing the lives of these children by supporting them through school, and to Great Plains Conservation Foundation for supporting our conservation holiday camp.