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Leigh Day inaugural placement scheme in Kenya great success

Dol Dol primary school in Northern Kenya has recently welcomed two young women from the UK

Dol Dol primary school students July 2010

4 August 2010

Leigh Day has worked with the Africa Educational Trust and community worker Peter Kilesi for a number of years to support some 50 orphans through their primary education in Northern Kenya.  While primary education has been free to all children in Kenya since 2003 in practice many children, especially those who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, have been denied access to school because of the cost of uniforms, books, stationery and food.  Orphans, who often have extended families, are last in line for any spending and commonly end up herding grazing livestock.  Many of the female students in school are expected to marry and have children at a young age.

Dol Dol school

Dol Dol primary school caters for over 600 pupils in East Africa, including 120 boarding pupils.  Leigh Day sponsors about 50 orphans each year from the Laikipia District through their primary education at Dol Dol, including board and daily meals, and about three or four each year who go on to secondaryDol Dol School education. The age of children ranges from nine to 18 years.

2010 placement project

In a new development the firm wanted to explore a way of developing its links with Dol Dol school. To do this Leigh Day has decided to sponsor two people to go out to the school for one month each year.  The first two Leigh Day candidates, Harriet Burrows and Alexandria Macleod, have just returned from their inaugural trip having spent time on projects including:

•    teaching English through games and spoken activities
•    running English/debate clubs
•    interactive sessions / encouragement talks with children
•    sporting activities during school days and weekends 

Harriet and Alex also spent time helping staff with other work such as web design (a copy of the Home Trust which runs the school is here), the production of documents, and helping to develop the library.
Peter Kilesi
Peter Kilesi (above) said of the trip:

“I can’t thank you enough for arranging to send the girls over here, it was a great idea. They did a lot in school guiding and counselling the big girls. They spent most of the weekends meeting our sponsored orphans, playing, reading, drawing and talking with them.  A very good painting was done in our library too. The girls are great people with great ideas and they were willing to work and talk to everybody. I hope this exchange programme will go on for a long time!”

Alex said:
“Immersing yourself in a Maasai community is not something you get to do every day! It was a rare insight into the difficulties faced by tribes caught between the will to modernise and overcome practices such as FGM while keeping their traditional culture alive. Apart from the amazing work H.O.M.E is doing with vulnerable children in the area, who without the trust's intervention would not be in education, H.O.M.E is also developing a special relationship with local schools and communities and growing into a youth centre and a women’s refuge.

Such an experience not only gives you a new perspective on the things we may take for granted back in the UK but also such a respect for children who walk 15miles to get to school but listen with a smile on their face.“

Harriet added:
“I wanted to say another thank you for the opportunity of going to Dol Dol, it was very eye-opening and from a Development Studies background changed my mind on many of the things I had learnt in a lecture hall compared to actually experiencing it in real situations. The area is definitely in need of an organisation that supports vulnerable children, and the efforts of Leigh Day have gone a long way in supporting the organisation, and many orphans. It was encouraging to see a grassroots organisation that was aware of the needs of the community, and had links with many schools, development organisations, and the local government.”

Leigh Day is delighted with the success of the first visit by their two sponsored candidates and looks forward to hearing more news from Dol Dol which carries out such valuable work in an area hard hit by the ravages of AIDS.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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