Dec 30, 2019

A SMALL COST TO SAVE A SCHOOL

Students in East Africa line up to use latrines
Students in East Africa line up to use latrines

A toilet should not stand in the way of an education. And two toilets certainly should not stand in the way of 605 educations.

It was an urgent situation for Loirero Primary School on Eselengei Group Ranch. The unpleasant ratio of two pit latrines for 605 students had led to such significant hygiene concerns that the school was threatened with closure by the Department of Health. The timing could not have been worse, with end-of-year exams approaching.

The parents at the school made contributions for new toilets but the total fell short and the school reached out to Big Life for help. Thankfully, we were able to contribute the balance to fund the construction of a new ablution block, with two more toilets, in order to keep the school open.

Unfortunately, this situation is common in the Amboseli ecosystem, and this is the third time we have had to respond to such a request. The local human population has grown rapidly over the last two decades, as has the demand for education, and the limited number of schools are accommodating far more children than they were designed to.

Additionally, with your help, to-date in 2019, we’ve been able to pay for the salaries of 22 teachers, award long-term scholarships to 262 students (133 girls, 129 boys).

Supporting the local communities who live with wild animals is at the core of Big Life’s ethos. Members of these communities typically deal only with the costs of human-wildlife conflict, and by supporting community needs we can generate much-needed goodwill for conservation efforts.

We cannot thank you enough for your support.

Oct 1, 2019

Saved by the Books

The greatest strength of Big Life’s education and scholarship program is that Maasai community members in the Greater Amboseli ecosystem are given an increased chance of having full, productive, and healthy lives through access to education. Unfortunately, education continues to be one of the three most critical needs in the rural Maasai regions in Kenya, with the Maasai communities in Big Life’s area of operation being amongst the most marginalized and vulnerable in the country. Big Life has witnessed families bankrupting themselves, time and time again, attempting to send their children to school.

Opportunities in the region are limited, and for boys, and without schooling, the only option at best is herding livestock. Girls typically face a bleaker future, with forced marriage being the likely alternative if funds are not available to cover school fees, books, and uniform costs. The number of additional documented positive impacts of education for girls and women are plentiful including: reduction of child and maternal mortality, improved nutrition and health, lower birth rates, and improved economic and social status.

 In response, in addition to being one of the largest employers in the region through Big Life’s community wildlife ranger program, Big Life invests in local Maasai communities by funding teachers’ salaries and providing scholarship funding for local students.

One shining example of the truly life-changing impact of Big Life’s Education & Scholarship program is a girl named Sarah. Sarah had just entered secondary school, when her father’s circumstances changed, and he was no longer able to pay her school feels. After struggling to pay, he gave up and initiated plans to marry Sarah against her will. Sarah was devastated and her future looked dire. But before it was too late, through the support of Big Life’s education program, Sarah received a scholarship to complete another year of schooling, and thus preventing an early marriage. According to Big Life’s staff in Kenya, “her outlook on life is now bright and she has been strengthened to face the future.”

With your help, to-date in 2019, we’ve been able to pay for the salaries of 22 teachers, award long-term scholarships to 262 students (133 girls, 129 boys). In addition, Big Life’s program has strengthened the local community’s commitment to wildlife by providing a mutual benefit linked to conservation. Thus, indirectly, your support for our education program gives Big Life another tool to protect over 1.6 million acres of wildlife and habitat areas in the Greater Amboseli ecosystem in East Africa. We can’t thank you enough for your support.

Jul 9, 2019

Life-changing Education: Maasai Students in Kenya

Teaching in Kenya
Teaching in Kenya

The latest U.N. statistics cite over 1 million children out-of-school in Kenya. Education is one of the three most critical needs, among water and health clinics, in the Maasai regions in Kenya. Big Life Foundation continues to witness the hunger for education being so strong among rural Maasai communities in Big Life's area of operation that families bankrupt themselves, often selling their cattle (the main livelihood and sustenance commodity) to put their children through school.

We are so appreciative of your support for this project. Contributing to this program provides an opportunity to reap continued benefits that are immeasurable to both the community and conservation of the wild places that we all rely on.

With your help, to-date in 2019, we’ve been able to pay for 30 teachers’ salaries, award long-term scholarships to 112 boys and 108 girls, and 124 one-time student scholarships. We’ve also had one field trip with students into Amboseli National Park, reaching 1,523 students with conservation curriculum.

Fighting wildlife crimes helps the ecosystem today, but winning the hearts and minds of the community and providing a mutual benefit through conservation is the only way to protect wildlife and wildlands far into the future. When the entire community benefits from conservation efforts and recognizes the value of protecting the ecosystem, enforcement becomes self-policing.

A hand up for education!
A hand up for education!

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