In April, four UCLan students, Jay Bain, Laura Wright, Riley Arthur and Will Shen, documented the inspirational work of MaaChild in Kenya. MaaChild provides secondary educational support to a selection of Maasai children who have successfully completed their primary education, but who would otherwise be unable to continue studying at secondary school, due to their extremely poor backgrounds. Students filmed and pictured MaaChild’s work in primary and secondary schools, and attended MaaChild’s end-of-year celebration, a delightful event to mark MaaChild’s anniversary and successes. UCLan students also collected stationery for the schools and raised money to buy calculators, which were presented to the MaaChild students at the ceremony.
As part of the excursion, students had the opportunity to carry out fieldwork, which involved researching Maa, an endangered language, and Maasai identity. The students were hosted and welcomed by two Maasai families, and spent a night at a Boma where they learnt first-hand about the Maasai’s culture, customs and language. This was a once-in-lifetime opportunity for the students – a humbling, heartfelt and memorable experience for all.
We’d like to give special thanks to Therese, the MaaChild team, Ecoadventures and UCLan Travel Bursary for supporting this trip and making it such a special and invaluable experience for the students. The students are now assisting MaaChild with the PR campaign to raise awareness and more money, which has included creating a new logo for Maachild and an e-Booklet. We are also helping MaaChild with a grant application for Comic Relief funding. We hope this symbiotic partnership with MaaChild will continue, where UCLan students and MaaChild can mutually benefit from future fieldtrips.
So far the project has raised over £1100 for MaaChild! Thank you to all the SoLLIS students and staff who have donated money, clothes and collected equipment for the schools. You have helped us make a difference to a Maasai child!
“It was an invaluable trip which broadened the perspectives of everyone who took part. Every single person on the trip was so deeply moved by the generosity of the people, the beauty of the terrain and the enduring passion for education amongst all age levels. Being able to witness the difference education makes not only to the students themselves and their families, but also in the communities was a pleasant surprise. The fieldtrip gave a taste for the massive scale of work MaaChild do in Amboseli. Kenya has such promise and I can’t believe I was lucky enough to have gone there at all!”
Riley Arthur, MA in Visual Journalism
“My visit to Africa was an adventure that took me on an emotional journey. The journey was filled with experiences I may never get the chance to repeat. The children were beautiful individuals, rich in ways I could only wish to be. Their sense of ambition and family loyalty is to be envied. I hope to return one day to Africa to share the experience again.”
Laura Wright, English Language and Linguistics
"The team left Kenya with an abundance of research, lasting new friendships, and a profound experience which will not be forgotten"
Jay Bain, English Language and Linguistics