Head teacher, Jacob Benedict Lekaaso, is a government appointee from the local area with a passion and commitment to the education of Samburu children, particularly girls and those children who are denied an education because of traditional shepherding duties. His dedication has resulted in improvement in student enrollment, retention and test scores. With 1,900 students associated with the school, Loltulelei is the largest school in Samburu District. The number of students completing eighth grade has increased dramatically, the number of girls completing school is higher than we have ever seen in a pastoralist setting and the scores are high enough to qualify all of these students to continue to high school.
The shepherd school is a particularly notable achievement. These children come to school for four hours in the evening, Goal: $20,000 after a full eight-hour work day tending the family herd. Church members volunteer in a rotation to walk the children safely home in the dark after classes each night. There are currently 102 children in the shepherd school, in grades one, two and three. Eventually these students will be able to sit for the national exams. Jacob is especially pleased that there are eight girl students over the age of 14 who have never been to school before. With an illiteracy rate of 85 percent in Samburu District, this kind of outreach is incredibly important.
In the fifth grade class, a boy named Lolimu Lekadaa has been recognized as having a gift for pastoral ministry and has been appointed as spiritual leader of the entire student body. There are 14 girls and 22 boys in the eighth grade, which is an enormous class with a staggering number of girls! Obviously there are lots of good reasons to invest in these kids and their community.
This year’s Summer Mission Project is to raise $20,000 to replace two of the four mud and wattle classrooms with new construction. In addition to providing much needed learning space for the 1,900 students, the new classrooms will also be equipped with solar lighting to allow shepherd children to attend the night school offered at Loltulelei.