31
Mar 17

Seeing Firsthand The Growth of Education in our TLC Community

Hi, I’m Kathy, part of the US-based TLC team that visited our Kenya operations in March.

My Kenyan colleague Anne and I spent a day visiting Oltumusoi Primary School which serves the local Maasai community. In the 10 years since the school began with a handful of students, it has now grown to 200+ students. Through the sales of our Beads for Learning bracelets, The Leakey Collection pays for teacher salaries at the school. This year we are funding 5 of the 15 teachers.

kathy and anne

In Kenya, parents must pay tuition fees for each child to attend school. The students standing in this class all have parents who work for The Leakey Collection. Earning money so their children can attend school is the top financial motivation for most of our women artisans.

TLC parents

Almost all of the children are the first generation in their families to learn to read or attend school. In this 8th grade class, I asked if any of their parents had attended school and only this single boy stood up. The children are taught in English and Swahili and are trilingual (including their mother language of Maa) by primary graduation.

young man whose parent went to school

The challenge of balancing traditional gender roles with preparing for a changing future makes it especially difficult to keep girls in school as they become teenagers. Our Beads for Girls Graduation bracelets fund mentorship programs to support girls in pursuing their educational goals.

young girl

In the upper grades I said a few words to the girls, reinforcing that they are just as capable as the boys to continue on to secondary school (equivalent to our high school) and even a university. They were surprised to hear that more women than men attend universities in the US.

addressing class

Children as young as 4 can begin attending the pre-school class where they become familiar with the learning environment. Here they sing Heads-Shoulders-Knees-and-Toes, a song that unites children across the globe.

preschool

We walked home with the lower primary students who are dismissed after the school-provided lunch. These young children walk 8-10 miles each day to attend school. Truly inspirational!

walking home


01
Mar 15

Read Across America Day

Monday, March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’ birthday and “Read Across America” Day. We have long believed in the power of reading and education, and this charming video about the 90-year-old Kenyan woman who is attending school grabbed our attention and our hearts! Click the link below to hear the story about this truly inspirational woman and then continue reading to find out how it relates to what The Leakey Collection is doing!

Gogo

90 year old Kenyan woman attends school

“I want to say to the children of the world, especially girls, that education will be your wealth.”  Priscilla “Gogo” Sitienei

“Gogo” embodies one of our goals: the empowerment of girls and women through education. Our highly successful Beads for Learning Bracelets have improved education for children in rural East Africa. And now, we are so excited to introduce a brand new bracelet to raise awareness and funds specifically for girls:  Beads for Girls Graduation.

Young girls tend to drop out of school before completing their primary education. The Leakey Collection will dedicate proceeds from the sale of these bracelets to our Girls Graduation mentorship program, counseling young teens to keep them on track towards graduation. We will also allocate money to a girls’ scholarship fund.

These bracelets will be in our partner stores this month and are now on our website. Ask your favorite store if they’ve ordered theirs yet. Together, we can Make a Better World!

Happy reading!