This week I had the privilege of photographing the extraordinary work being done by The Kilgoris Project in Western Kenya. The Kilgoris Project is an NGO started around 10 years ago by Caren and Jon McCormack to provide quality education to the children of the Maasai. If you are a long time reader of my blog then you are familiar with this extraordinary work. In fact, I would encourage you to listen to the podcast I did with Jon a year ago last March. You’ll find it HERE.
Even though I have known about Jon and Caren’s work for some time, this was my first Kilgoris experience. While Jon and I took off to the bush to photograph two new prospective sites for more schools, Gavin Gough and Lesley Fisher were busy running Gavin’s amazing charity, SeedLight. The idea behind SeedLight is to help kids to express themselves through photography. Learn more about Gavin’s work HERE.
Jon and I visited two prospective locations for new schools. Each school is in a rural area that offers only one school for miles. The schools we visited in Ndege and Ollolailei, are spread over several miles. Each community might have one school that educates 500 to 600 children, but this is only counting the children who actually attend, there are many, many others who just don’t make the hike. Many communities like Ollolailei have no road. Children who are only 5 or 6 years of age will literally hike miles through the bush just to attend classes. But these schools are over-crowded–often 80 kids to a class and three to a desk. The schools usually have no funding for facilities for lunch programs, and with so many of the students walking so far to come to school, the classes are kept to only a half day. By the way, the older children arrive at school by 7:00am in order to receive tuition and don’t leave school till 5:00pm!
At both Ndege and Ollolailei the school is literally made of mud and sticks. Ndege is less rural and has over 500 students. The school has around 10 or so classrooms, but with no room left over for the primary children, they have their classes outside under a tree. It might be beautiful to look at, but not so nice when the rain starts. On those days, there simply is no class. Ollolailei is way off the road. Here the school is only one room and it does double-duty as their church. Here they have two classes under the a huge tree.
I am touched to be able to share with you some images from this week.
A note to all you photo geeks: All these images were shot with Fujifilm X-Pro 1.
If you would like to donate to the work that the Kilgoris Project is doing in Kenya, here’s your chance. Please donate.