Africa SOMA Inc.

Africa SOMA sees education as a central tool in improving the lives of all people. In Kenya, progress has been made in expanding access to education, however large hurdles remain: quality is often low, secondary schools are prohibitively expensive, and often the most vulnerable groups, such as Maasai pastoralists, continue to be unable to access even primary education. Improving participation in schooling requires creative solutions that lower barriers to entry and improve the learning environment. Our programs aspire to contribute to such creative solutions. We work in partnership with local organizations and community members and promote community investment and involvement in all of our p...
Aug 1, 2013

Microprojects pave the way for more personal scholarship donations

Damaris, one of Africa SOMA
Damaris, one of Africa SOMA's 2013 Scholars

In an effort to raise funds for Africa SOMA's 2013 Scholarship winners, we have begun creating individualized microprojects, under the umbrella of this Global Giving project, in order to highlight each individual student to potential donors. All the money raised directly through this project will be divided equally among our students however we wanted to give potential donors the chance to get to know our students on a more personal and individualized level. I encourage you to check out these related microprojects.

We have already had enormous success with fundriasing for Monica, one of our scholarship students, as she works towards her dream of becoming a doctor. Monica would like us to say "Thank you" to all of those donors that contributed to the great fundraising success of her microproject. We have great confidence in Monica and thank all our donors for helping provide the finances necessary for her to pursue this goal.

Currently Africa SOMA's has two summer interns, Brooke and Helen, working on the ground in the Elangata Wuas community. As volunteer teachers they have become very aware of the rewards and challenges the community's hardowrking students engage with on a daily basis. Our interns have been interviewing the 2013 scholarship winners about the impact Africa SOMA's scholarship has made on their lives, how their adjusting to high school as well as thier future plans and goals. Damaris, one of 2013's two female scholarship winners was recentlly interviewed regarding the impact her schoarship has had on her life. 

Again we would like to thank our donors for their support. Education has long been understood to be one of the most successful methods for increasing the social mobility, health, climate change resilience and empowerment of not only the youth that are educated but their communities who benefit from the ripple effect of education.

Thank you for choosing to support Africa SOMA in our work. We could not do it without you. 

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May 10, 2013

Computer Lab Continues to Blossom in the Rainy Season

The Library under a rainy season rainbow
The Library under a rainy season rainbow

Thanks to your contribution the computer lab is continues to thrive and expand. Issac, the computer lab manager has continued to offer classes to interested students on everything from computer basics to Microsoft Excel and Internet to basic DOS work. While some of the computer lab students are interested in understanding the simple basics of computer use, other students are learning how a computer functions from Issac. Teaching three computer classes a day, Issac makes sure to tailor the material and pace to each of his student's ability. "During the computer practicals, Issac gives us more time to do our [lesson]." a student of Issac's explained, "In other places, everything happens in a rush because the main interest of those other schools is mainly money and not the learning process of the student."

Since Kenya's school vacation most of Issac's students are between the ages of 18-35, but Issac is excited to start teaching more primary and high school students once classes resume. The computer lab has drawn the attention of a varied mix of young men and women both married and unmarried. Since youth employment is low in Kenya, computer skills are hugely in demand for entering the workforce and private entrepreneurship. "I have had a major difference in my life", one computer student explained to Africa SOMA, "If I get employed somewhere where they use the computer, I can use it. Before I attended the class, I didn't know anything about computers. This has also introduced me to the broader world of technology. Before I only knew about mobile [cell phone] technology".

The convenience of having access to computer lab for the rural community of Elangata Wuas is opening up the world of computers for many Elangata Wuas residents. "[The computer lab] is pretty near and I have seen also the way they teach students is interactive." one of Issac's newest students explained. Prior to the computer lab opening, community members wishing to use a computer would have to travel to Kajiado, an expensive hour long bus trip. Now that the computer lab is running community members can access these skills in a convenient, inexpensive manner.

While the computer lab may be up and running, our goal has not yet been met. The lab is still in need of some small items, such as usb keys, internet cables, headphones and a curtain to create a more private learning space. Issac's salary is still not fully covered although Africa SOMA is dedicated to fundraising to cover his salary until the computer lab is financially self sustaining. We look forward to continuing to share our project news with you and thank you again for your contribution to this project!

Computer Lab Teacher Issac works with his students
Computer Lab Teacher Issac works with his students

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Apr 2, 2013

Announcing Africa SOMA's 2013 Scholarship Winners!

Africa SOMA is proud to announce our 2013 Scholarship Award Winners!  We are excited to award full four year high school scholarships to the two top scoring boys and girls in the Elangata Wuas District. The 2013 top male students are Olubi (Scarlet) from the KMQ Primary School  and Leken (Gideon) from Elangata Wuas Primary. Tumanka (Emily) from Indupa Primary and Oseur (Damaris) from Elangata Wuas Primary School are the top two 2013 two female students awarded with Africa SOMA’s scholarship.  Each of these students studied very hard in order to be the leading students in the district. With these scholarships Leken, Olubi, Tumanka and Oseur will be able to choose which high school they will attend for the next four years. In a region struggling with drought and unpredictable rainfall patterns education allows youth a greater range of options for their livelihoods. While many of our previous scholarship students continue to raise livestock they have diversified this traditional income source with a wide variety of other career pursuits.

On February 28th Africa SOMA held a comedy fundraiser at Montreal’s Comedy Nest and raised $850.00 towards the cost of supporting our 2013 Scholarship winners over their four year high school career. We encourage you to tell your friends and family about our cause and help us move closer to our goal of fully funding these students.

Africa SOMA believes increased access to education is key for the long term economic, cultural and environmental sustainability of the Maasai living in the Elangata Wuas region. Thank you for joining us in our work towards this cause. 

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