By Lucy Liddle
Here is an uplifting case study about Julius, his journey into education at a later age than his peers and his development into the Head Boy at Maasai Academy! 🌟
Julius grew up living at home and was herding animals most of the time as his parents could not afford to put him through school when he was a child. When he was a teenager, he went to look for employment in people’s homes where he could earn money looking after cattle. He later moved to the RedTribe Camp in search of casual work after hearing that there were some construction jobs there. Whilst he was at the camp, a volunteer from the UK, Willy, became concerned about him and inquired why he was not in school and if he would be interested in attending Maasai Academy where he was accepted with the support of RedTribe.
Julius entered school as a teenager in Grade 3, surrounded by children much younger than him who had begun education at an earlier age. “I am happy because the teachers understand that I joined late and they take their time to make sure I learn and understand. When I came in 2019, I was not able to do anything, but right now I am able to read and write.”
Julius wants to be a mason when he finishes schooling. “I was doing casual jobs in construction, and I want to go for the same course when I finish here because I know I will be able to go to university,” adds Julius. When Lucy caught up with Julius in July 2022, he had been elected Head Boy at Maasai Academy. Julius said, “I think I was chosen as Head Boy by my fellow students because I show good leadership.” Julius is absolutely thriving in education, and has become a fantastic student representative.
He comments how happy his school life is due to the sustainable infrastructure at Maasai – they have water close to school and don’t have to walk far to get it. They enjoy lots of food from the shamba (kitchen garden) – In the mornings they drink tea and eat, followed by rice, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and cabbage in the afternoon.
During this conversation, Julius also raised some of the challenges the students have been experiencing. “My Uncles’ home is near the air strip, so I am boarding now as it’s quite far to come each day and I can study more when I stay at school. Boarding is good but it is very congested, there are 66 boys boarding and no dorm. We sleep on the floor on our mattresses in the kitchen and the store room and some in the Headmaster’s office. There are many boys who wish to board but there is just no space, a dorm for boys would allow more of us to study longer, not have to walk so far each day and waste time when we could be learning. This school is good, so people come from far, some stay with family in the village but some walk very far. I would love to have a boy’s dorm here.”
The girl’s dormitory at Maasai is currently under construction, and will house 60 female students. Maasai hope to build a boy’s dorm after the girl’s dormitory is completed.
Julius also notes on behalf of the female students that they are lacking a place to shower with privacy. When asked if there are many differences in the education of girls and boys he says: “We are all the same here, girls and boys, it is not like at home, at school we are the same”.
Julius is proof of what incredible achievements individuals can attain when they are given the opportunity of a quality education.