For many children education is the only hope of escape from a life of poverty so they are very keen to do well at school and usually work hard. Tribal customs permit teenage girls to be married off to older men in return for a certain number of goats. Education may offer an alternative life choice for these girls.
Primary education is free but they have to buy a uniform (£10), beyond the reach of many. The school is run by a very enthusiastic group of teachers but it is very short of basic resources such as books and desks.
Loiyangalani Primary School has approximately 700 pupils aged between 6 and 14. There are 8 classes. The junior classes have close to 100 children in each.
All pupils start in Grade One and may start at any age provided that they are at least six years old. At the end of each school year there is an exam.
Only those who pass the exam are permitted to move up to the next grade. Most students will repeat at least one grade during their primary school years. There are eight grades in all.
The principal subjects taught are Kiswahili (the native tongue for most of the children), English, Maths, Science, Social Studies and Religious Studies.
School starts at 8 am and finishes at 5 pm. A maize lunch is provided at the school and the Trust funds a porridge breakfast every day, as many children were coming to school hungry and struggling to learn.
We fund many essential items such as pencils and biros, school bags, extra desks, batteries for solar power and even pants for the children. From time to time we fund extra 'teacher helpers' as there can be as many as 100 in one class.
The junior classrooms are very short of desks so many children have to sit on the floor. There is a shortage of pens and pencils. The children are provided with exercise and text books at the beginning of the year, but often these do not last the year and replacements have to be paid for.
Many of the girls cannot afford sanitary towels. Not only can this cause health problems but it also means that those girls who do not have them miss school when they are having their periods, thereby missing vital tuition.
Through individual sponsorship (see 'How can you help' page) we support a small number of bright and needy children through secondary school. They study English, Swahili, Mathematics, Biology, Geography, History, Religious Education, Business Studies and Agriculture. Fees have to be paid by the families as does equipment and uniform.
We use a number of secondary schools including the one in Loiyangalani, and Nyiro Boys and Girls Schools in South Horr, which is about two and a half hours' drive from Loiyangalani. Children board at secondary school.
Where possible and subject to the generosity of sponsors, we also help some boys and girls through vocational courses, including teacher training, manual skills courses such as electrics, carpentry, masonry and office and tailoring skills.
We have had some great success over the last few years with students going on to college, to the army or police force, to become teachers, seamstresses and electricians.
But there are so many more children unable to attend school and waiting for our help.
Registered Charity No 1148989.
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