On 5th April 2012 we first visited our neighbouring primary school in Ole Keene. Comprising of basic iron sheet classrooms and a mud hut kitchen plus two newly built classrooms it is a very basic school. Although now a government funded school it was originally built from contributions by the villagers of Ole Keene and was late to be taken over by the government meaning it is not covered by the school feeding program. With barely enough money to pay teachers the Headmaster is not able to afford anything to feed the children at lunch time meaning at the time we visited children were being sent home to try and find food for lunch. Some children have to travel several kilometres on foot to school, often through dangerous terrain due to wildlife and the majority are from very poor families. Most kids would not get any food at home and then have to return to school in the afternoon even more hungry from their efforts.
Although the kids are very happy to go to school and desperately crave knowledge malnutrition and hunger has a very negative impact on their ability to learn. We decided to try and do something so from that day onwards we created The Porridge Project initiative and have been fundraising and bringing awareness to the situation of the children through the camp and encouraging clients to visit the school.
Porridge is an inexpensive but very nutritious and simple meal which provides long lasting energy so we decided it was one of the best things we could provide to the school for the children to have for lunch. Initially after raising some money and doing a trial we established with the Headmaster a 90kg sack of Porridge lasted around 8 days, nowadays due to the fact the enrolment at school has gone up, a sack lasts roughly one week.
After some initial fundraising we were able to provide porridge consistently in term time throughout 2012. Unfortunately in 2013 we didn’t have enough funds to supply it the whole year but we were able to provide it for 6 months. We also began paying a salary to a local woman to cook it in October as it became too much for the teachers to do it due to the fact the school is also understaffed. In 2014 we were able to consistently provided porridge for the whole year through donations alone which was a huge achievement for us and we have been able to maintain it ever since. In 2018 in order to make the funding more sustainable we began donating $2 per night for every guest who stays in our en suite accommodation, $1 per night for every guest who staying in our dome tent accommodation and $0.50 per night for every camping guest we have. We call this our Ole Keene Primary School Development Fund which along with any other donations we receive goes into running the Porridge Project and completing other projects within the school.
A 90kg sack of porridge currently costs us $58 including transport from Narok to Maasai Mara. It costs approximately $2500 for us to provide the school with porridge for a whole year during term time and pay the salary of a cook which is $60 per month.
If you would like to contribute you can donate at anytime via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org and mark your donation Porridge Project.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to help us get this far!
For further photos you can also check out our Facebook album here.