At the nomadic school this morning we listened to the children singing praises, sat under a bush tree to drink chai with the Rendille cooking lunch, and observed the closing of term. (The school had to close early due to lack of food so we were all the more glad to catch them on their final day before letting out for break.) Nancy also had the opportunity to address the teachers and then later the students as well.
Unfortunately, we've learned that the schools are struggling financially. The missionaries who lived here in Korr for more than thirty years have just retired and, as they used a portion of their private funds to support the school, their retirement has had significant financial impact. Several of the nurseries (kindergarten) have closed and the leadership has just made the difficult decision to begin charging fees for the high school which will likely result in it's closing as well.
But there are still many wonderful things happening here! The students are studying diligently, the girl to boy ratio remains nearly even, the teachers are committed as ever to seeing their students offered a valuable Christ-centered education, and the student's parents have begun to contribute as well. The school leadership began charging a very small fee to help cover meal costs for the students. We are very excited about this because it helps parents to take responsibility for their children's education in a manageable way.
Ultimately the deep desire of the school leadership is that the Tirrim Schools become largely self sustaining. The generous donations of our sponsors help to provide a part of the school's budget and, while we hope that our contribution can grow and that the Foundation can continue to provide the much needed extra boost, we are not the be all, end all. Nancy an I spent hours in conversation this afternoon with Pastor David Gargule and the Tirrim Schools Headmaster, Lawrence Letipo brainstorming ways to help the school become self-sustaining. What an encouraging conversation! We are so impressed with the men who are leading these schools and look forward to continuing our partnership with them.
The nomadic Rendille tribe of Northern Kenya sustain themselves in this harsh environment through livestock- moving their herds several times a year based on the rains. The nomadic school was strategically placed in the center of their lands so that it is always accessible for the Rendille students. It is part of the Tirrim Schools (five schools here in Korr), the only schools left in Northern Kenya that are still Christian. Let that sink in. The only Christian schools in Northern Kenya. And yet, because of the commitment of the school leadership the Tirrim Schools continue to have a positive spiritual and academic impact on over half of the Rendille tribe’s students. Praise the Lord!
But they still need our help. If you know anyone who would be willing to participate in the Tirrim Schools sponsorship program please share with them. And keep an eye out- if we have the opportunity to provide seed funding for a self-sustainability project we'll be letting you know.