The Unicorn School has developed strong links with Mwalimu School in the Loliondo region of North West Tanzania.
The village elder had a vision of providing the local Maasai children of Primary School Age with an education, since the Maasai tribe was no longer nomadic, but living in Bomas dotted around the Loliondo region.
The government part-built a classroom and staff accommodation, the local people were tasked with completing the build before the government would pay for a teacher to be sent to this very remote area.
In the meantime the children had to walk an hour each way to the nearest school, a journey often blocked by elephants.
School attendance was very low.
In 2009 Chrissie Davies, a friend of The Unicorn School on safari in the Maasai Mara, was introduced to Maasai village elder Mwalimu. Mwalimu told her about his vision for the Maasai children to attend school locally. Chrissie was determined to raise funds to complete the school and with tireless fundraising helped to complete the build. The Government then paid for a teacher, but nothing else. There were about 60 children attending the school which had only paper, pencils and basics donated by Chrissie and her helpers. The children were often hungry, so an adult would cook a pot of porridge at lunchtime, on an open fire burning twigs. The United Nations Food Programme said that if the village elder could have a basic kitchen built, it would provide the food. Despite delays due to drought, when all water was needed for drinking and not for making concrete and mortar, the funds were raised.
Since 2010 The Unicorn School has donated sports equipment; beds for school dormitories, and letters, photos, numeracy resources and clothing to the school. Our pupils sent disposable cameras to the Maasai school children who sent back amazing pictures of daily life in a Maasai boma, now in display-books in The Unicorn School office. Our fundraising activities have included a 2011 coin trail around the school and a sponsored walk along part of the Ridgeway; and sponsored walks around Abingdon’s Albert Park in 2014 and 2015. Together we have raised over £4,000 which has helped build a second classroom for the Mwalimu School’s increasing pupil numbers.
The Mwalimu School’s development has been amazing. The kitchen now feeds 700 children each day and pupil numbers are growing rapidly as children come in from an increasingly wide area. The Maasai way of life is strong, but the ending of the nomadic lifestyle and a lessening of their dependence on animal husbandry has given both boys and girls the opportunity to have an education with the backing of their parents. Local craft-based micro-businesses supply some money for food and the growth of farming small plots of land around the bomas.
The next stage is to meet the need for a third classroom as pupil numbers are soaring. In addition solar panels would provide the building with electricity. In time the buildings could become the central point of the local community. Numeracy resources are especially useful as they reach across the English-Swahili language barrier and give the key skills developing local business and for better job prospects in the nearest big town Arusha, 230 miles away.
The main contributors to Mwalimu School are Chrissie Davies who works for CABI (a not-for-profit international organization that improves people’s lives via agriculture and the environment); The Nomad Tanzania Safari company; The Unicorn School and United Nations World Food Programme. As such all monies and equipment reaches its destination.
Monies raised by our organisations can be put to immediate effect for the benefit of the Maasai community. By supporting the children of Mwalimu school our own pupils develop as global citizens; together we can make a real difference.
Please find below a short film about Mwalimu School