Laguna Maasai Foundation

Grace Sauers, Editor-in-Chief/Production Manager

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As Americans, we often take for granted simple things, such as desks, electricity and computers, and a high degree of safety in school. However, imagine if your biggest fear was that you couldn’t make the 15km trek most students have to make every day in Oloolaimutia, Kenya; imagine a life in which your greatest fears were far greater than the amount of homework or difficult exams you have. In the summer of 2016, the LBHS MUN Foundation raised ​over $13,000 for a wind-solar generator to power the entire Oloolaimutia Primary School. Before that, there was no electricity for the students of the rural school. Founded in 2012, the MUN Foundation continues to raise  money for Oloolaimutia Primary School of Oloolaimutia, Kenya.

“We discovered the village by accident, really. My wife and I were on a safari in Kenya, and the village was right next to the entrance of the nature reserves. The villagers depend on tourism for income, so they advertise their village to tourists, and we took the opportunity and visited the village,” said MUN teacher Jun Shen,

The Maasai tribe includes over 1.5 million people throughout Kenya and Tanzania. Today, much of the Maasai tribe still practice age-old traditions and rites.

“Our foundation sells handmade jewelry made by the women of the village and sends the money directly to them,” said junior co-president Ella Steinach

The beaded, hand-crafted jewelry reflects the tribe’s deep culture.

“Even though we have made a lot of positive progress in the village, they are still struggling through terrifying conditions. The pupil dormitories which were built to protect the young girls from early marriage and conflict at home have four students to a single bed. This means that disease spreads quickly and there is no privacy, ” said Steinbach.

There is an extreme lack of funding in schools, as the average teacher in Kenya earns roughly $1,000 a year. Of the nine teachers at Oloolaimutia, only six are paid by the government. The other three are supported by the local community. The MUN Foundation aims to raise money in order to improve the lives of the villagers. In addition to selling jewelry, the foundation also raises money for larger projects.

“In the past, some of the projects that we worked on included building a wind-solar generator that we completed last year, and we built desks the year before that,” said Shen.

One of the Foundation’s biggest projects was the solar wind generator. Last year, they raised over $13,000 to give energy to the Maasai school.

“The Foundation is a great opportunity for students to experience life in a third world country. It’s nice to see freshmen and seniors coming together in order to improve the lives of the less fortunate,” said sophomore treasurer Zack Bonnin

Currently, they are fundraising  in hopes of providing the village with clean water.

“In the future, we hope to supply the school with a reliable source of clean water, in order to provide water security to students and villagers of the tribe,” said junior co-president Amy You.

 

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