We remain in cultural contact with Ilkurot, providing Maasai cultural excursions upon request. We feel that we have provided an incredible amount to this village and set it up to run in a sustainable manner. Enough so that we can depart from the day to day activities and re-visit them only when special projects arise.
In 2011, we are still ‘maintaining’ Ilkurot and support their cultural tourism program – as we move onto Matimu Nursery and Primary School. Our relationship with village elders and the school committee remains strong and together we look forward to expanding the school once more when the time arises.
One idea is to assist the building of a secondary school next door – this would allow for students from Ilkurot to afford to reach secondary school and not defer or not attend based on transportation problems to Le Manyatta (Mukulat Secondary School) or lack of sponsorship.
2007 was a successful year for us at Ilkurot. Early int the year a container of desks, tables, sewing machines, coal irons, childrens’ clothes and kitchen sinks were donated from Singapore.It was a financial and physical challenge to get it to the village – but we are proud to say that we did it and the students of Ilkurot are now the proud users of this equipment.
Over 1000 textbooks have been purchased to allow the students to actually have something that guides their studies. Also, we have plastered the outside of 4 classrooms and fit glass windows (one side only). Previously, there were wooden windows in place – meaning that when the wind blew in this dusty place, an almost daily occurrence, the windows needed to be closed which blocked any form of light entering the classrooms. Needless to say, no light / no write.
We employed a Tinga Tinga artist, who carries out our painting lessons for clients, to go and stay in the village for two weeks and paint murals and educational drawings on the newly plastered walls. In Ilkurot, the scenery is bland and the school grounds were excessively so, thus this new splash of colour has truly lifted spirits and allowed the students to enjoy coming to their school.
In 2007, we also planted almost 500 trees in an effort to cut down the dust that does fly and cause so many eye infections and dry coughs. We hope that as we enter 2008, we are able to put more water tanks in place to water the trees so that they can grow and make a marked difference in the school environment.
In July and August, we were lucky enough to have Andy and Kelly onboard to construct a playground for the children. A first in the school, a first in the village, a first in the district and only one of a few in the outskirts of Arusha. This has enabled the children to include sports education into their curriculum by way of a basic football pitch, netball court and volleyball court. Also balance beams, monkeys bars and climbing frames are being used for the nursery school to encouragement gross motor skills, counting, and other social skills. We are very grateful for this to have happened.
We have also had the strong support of the Asante Africe Foundation to assist in the building on 14 new toilets for the Primary School – this has literally saved the school as it was ear-marked to be shut down by the government in 2009. They have also helped us with the refurbishment of classrooms, along with the completion of the Std 7 classroom.
In 2009, we finished off a ‘shell’ classroom that was on school grounds and created a library/ Teachers’ Resource Centre for use and referencing by the teachers. We came to realize that it is just as important to improve conditions for teachers as well as students – they are the foundation for great education for our schools.
We also complete further refurbishment on four other classrooms, including assistance from some Australian secondary schools to come across and go ahead and build ceilings into six classrooms – this helped to appease the heat from the sun beaming down on the corrugated iron roofing sheets.
For 2010, we simply ‘maintained’ Ilkurot, funding school supplies, some teacher and the cook’s wages and the porridge program and promoting cultural tourism throughout the village.