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  • Writer's picturePaula Hammack

Children Walk Miles for School

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

I ended my prior blog with being invited to see the community where Tirian lived. It is not on the tourist track and actually has no roads leading to it, so while they have had outsider visitors before, they were very few and far between. The first place we visited was the school which had around 620 students at the time- many coming from long distances so  having to live in dormitories at the school.  However the school was in danger of shutting down as the one water well they had was drying up.  It had been built at only about 90 meters depth and the aquifer there dried up in the annual drought.  I was invited to look in the vastly overcrowded classrooms, and dormitories where children slept 2 to a bed and many of the beds had no mattresses or blankets. I also visited the teacher housing which was woefully inadequate.

I offered to put in a well, and to build new classrooms, and dormitories and to increase the teacher housing capacity through our Foundation.  The

Over the next year or so we built a new teacher housing unit and 4 classrooms and a dormitory.  We also provided mattresses and bedding for all the bunks that were in need.  We bought computers for each of the teachers (16)  and that required us putting in solar panels to fuel the computers. There is no internet but with computers the teachers could manage and organize the children's work far more easily than having to deal with piles of paper. 

None of the children in these remote areas had ever seen playground equipment so as a treat we decided to buy such equipment.  We bought 8 sets of roundabouts, swings, slides and other fun things and my what a hit they were. The word soon got out and children walked miles and miles from far away communities to come and play on the equipment. 

Since all this was done we have built a lot more classrooms, more teacher housing, and today in 2020 we are finishing yet another dorm.  One of the benefits of what we have done is that the national score given to schools based on performance has gone up every single year since we started helping the children, and some children have come up to me and said "thank you for making this a happy school”. 

As population grows there will be a continual need for more classrooms, more dormitories, more teacher housing, more toilets and more money to help the children's parents pay for school. There is no free school in Kenya even though school is mandatory through 8th grade.


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