Africa Schools of Kenya (ASK) works in conjunction with the Maasai people, located in the Kajiado region outside Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya, East Africa. In keeping with the needs of the Maasai people, ASK facilitates and underwrites the implementation of educational programs encouraging awareness on healthcare, leadership and life skills with a emphasis on women’s rights, environmental and financial sustainability, wildlife conservation, and cross-cultural diversity.
Since 2007, ASK’s focus is on the 1200+ Maasai people of Esiteti, including the 400 students attending Esiteti Primary School.
In 2009, the Esiteti community relocated to the newly constructed, 6-classroom school overlooking Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Currently, there are 111 students or graduates of Esiteti Primary School attending middle and high schools sponsored by ASK donors. Each student receives a partial to full scholarship to be applied, up through their high school graduation, to a school of the family’s choice. ASK has aligned with 20 schools in the surrounding area, providing educational opportunities these young Maasai students would not have had otherwise.
The Maasai Culture
Occupying the fertile grassland of the Rift Valley and surrounding uplands, the pastoral and nomadic Maasai are probably the most renowned Kenyan tribe. Maasailand covers an area of approximately 100,000 square miles (160,000 kilometers) in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania with a population of over 400,000 Maasai people. For centuries the Maasai have moved cattle in a constant search for water and fresh grazing. Tall and lean with brilliant red cloths tied at the shoulder, the morani (warriors) can usually be seen armed with a spear, sword or club. The enkang is the basic economic and social unit of the Maasai, where a semi-permanent grouping of several families live together in 10 to 20 huts encircled by an impenetrable thorn fence. The low, circular huts (constructed by women in the group) consist of interwoven branches plastered together with a combination of mud and cow dung. Although the women are often seemingly in the background of the cultural context, they are the backbone of the culture; they build houses and look after schoolchildren. They also have influential roles in enabling girls to attend school.