When we, at Entim Camp in Kenya’s Masai Mara, heard about the Pack for a Purpose initiative we loved the idea and were keen to get involved. We appreciated the way that it would enable our guests to help out in such a simple way and that we too could help support the local community.
Our head driver quickly identified a new school near to us in Talek town that had yet to receive government funding. Started in 2013, Molibany Primary School has around 110 pupils, teachers and classrooms but had little else when we first met with them.
An initial visit was paid in October 2013 to establish the needs of the school so that we could let our guests know what they can usefully bring. At the same time, however, the headmaster talked to us about the more basic (and heavy!) needs of the school and we committed to provide a set of desks as soon as we saw how badly they were needed.
In February 2014, we returned with a truckload of brightly coloured desks and two suitcases of supplies kindly donated by individuals and companies in the UK (particular thanks should go to Michelle Clark, Frank PR and Cirkle PR). We provided enough exercise books, pencils, pens and art supplies to equip every pupil. And for fun there were skipping ropes and, most popular of all, footballs. The loudest cheer was for the footballs!
During a special ceremony which the school had laid on for us, the headmaster and some of the parents expressed their gratitude to the camp and the donors for all that they had done so far. And then the headmaster went on to explain that their next challenge was to supply Kenyan curriculum textbooks for all children – currently the pupils were sharing one per class. As soon as we heard this, we knew we had to help again and we left with a long list of every book they needed.
In March 2014, a regular friend and guest of the camp, top international wildlife photographer David Lloyd, returned to Entim Camp in order to lead four back-to-back photographic safari groups. He had sent information about Pack for a Purpose to his guests in advance and a number were due to come with supplies, so two visits were arranged. During the first we were able to explain to the headmaster that all of the textbooks had been ordered and that we would be able to deliver them to him within the next fortnight. The joy he expressed was so moving that it made all of our efforts so far worth it!
During this visit we spent time being shown around the school from class to class while the children sat patiently. That was until we got our cameras out and then the smiles broke out – the children simply loved having their pictures taken!
The final classroom we visited was for the ‘top’ set of the most gifted pupils. There the female teacher explained what a difference our donations had made so far. She told us how she’d grown up locally, had had the chance to train to be a teacher and had decided to return to the local area to take up her post and hopefully act as a role model for other girls. Shockingly it is still the case that many girls are prevented from attending rural schools in Kenya and she wants to try and change that.
Two weeks later, as promised, we returned to deliver the textbooks (donated by Kenyan-based donors Shelina and Nazir Khamisa) as well as another big donation of items for the school by guests of David Lloyd and also from UK donors Richard Faulkner and Peter and Hazel Raggett. Items included more exercise books, pens, colouring pencils, office supplies for the teachers and once again, most popular, more footballs! Our welcome was overwhelming and once again a special ceremony was held, which this time included making David Lloyd an honourary Masai elder!
The relationship that Entim has quickly established with Molibany Primary School has been mutually satisfying and rewarding. There’s a real fondness now for the school and the children and it is a pleasure watching them all develop. Our sights are now firmly set on funding some badly needed toilets and perhaps in the future even a staff room. But in the meantime we look forward to every time a guest arrives with items for the school – it is another excuse to revisit our friends there. Thanks to Pack for a Purpose for making this all possible!