Tuma Sitta is a 7-year-old girl from Gilai village in Longido district. She is seventh child of her poor parents. Her father is a mason and through that he supports his extended family. Due to the extreme poverty of the family, Tuma ‘s brothers and sisters dropped out of school despite passing their secondary school entrance exams. Tuma’s father volunteers in minor construction activities at the school. Tuma has been insisting that her father to pay her school fees so she can attend a better school and be educated beyond primary school. Tuma promised to study hard and be a community role model.
2021 2nd grade student. She is sponsored by the Kibler family of Virginia.
Elia Elikana Laizer is a 8-year old boy from Oldonyo Lengai village and the youngest of 6 in his family. Elia’s two elder sisters were married against their will. His brothers are in primary school, but Elia is not sure his dad will be willing to pay for their secondary school fees as this is not his priority. Elia’s mother is a very active member of the ENCO Enyora women’s group and volunteered as a laborer during the construction of the EEMPS. She is willing to support some of Elia’s school costs like uniform fees and other minor expenses. Elia’s father is not supportive of education. Elias can’t wait to put on the new uniform of EEMPS and start talking in English he said.
2021 4th grade student. Elia is sponsored by Doug Belcik of California. Doug has visited the school twice as a volunteer with Service without Borders.
Grace Joseph Laizer is the youngest child of Mr. & Mrs. Joseph from Irerendeni village. Grace has four brothers who pursued their primary studies but never managed to go to secondary school due to poverty within the family. Grace’s mother is very worried about her only daughter and she sees the possibility of her husband marrying her off in the near future since he has no other daughters and does not see the benefits of education even for the boys. Grace’s mother, Napir, promised to work day and night to get money to pay Grace’s school requirements and requested a scholarship for tuition and fees. She has great hopes for Grace and believes her education will be a great resource for the family in the future.
Grace is a 2020 1st grade student. Grace is sponsored by Daphne Kibler of New Jersey.
Vivian Felly Mpwage is one of seven children from Felly Mpwage family. She is her mother’s second born but Vivian has more brothers and sisters from her extended family. Her father is a village local leader but cannot afford to pay Vivian’s EEMPS school fees. He is from a very big family but most of his relatives have passed away from HIV/AIDs and he has been left with the huge burden of supporting the children from his deceased relatives. In late 2018, Vivian met Martha Olemisiko (our school manager) in church and asked if she could attend school. She was admitted to pre-school in January 2019 and promoted to 1st grade in 2020. Her parents are requested a sponsor for their daughter because they could not afford her school fees. Vivian’s family now has great hopes for her and believe that after Vivian is educated, she will be better able to support her family and community. Vivian is very lucky as a Virginia Tech volunteer, Eliza (pictured), met Vivian while working at the school in 2019 and Eliza’s family is now supporting Vivian’s education.
2020 1st grade student. Sponsored by the Binns Family, Virginia, USA.
Minis Lesinet Ngeke is an eight-year-old girl from Oldonyo Lengai village near Engaruka. She belongs to a huge family family as her father, Lesinet, is married to six wives. Her mother is a second wife and Minis is the third born of her mother. Her two elder brothers went to primary school but due to the long distance to school they dropped out. Babu Matthew convinced her father to allow Minis to attend school and when she enrolled, her father cancelled his arranged marriage plans for her. Minis is did so well as a pre-schooler that she was allowed to skip 1st grade. Her father is now very proud she is in school and wishes he could afford to send more of his daughters girls to school. Lesinet is an incredibly supportive parent and he never misses parents’ meetings at the school. Minis’s sponsor met her while volunteering at the school in 2018.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Abby Qualliotine, USA.
Israel Peter Purwo, a six-year-old boy from Engaruka chini village, is the son of a young mother, Pendo. Israel was not registered in school though his siblings are. He has been designated the livestock keeper of his family as he is the only boy. Israel’s home is not far from the school and he has observed the goings on at the school while shepherding his livestock. On two occasions he came to school to ask if he could attend but once he got home he get beaten for asking. These beatings have not stopped his thirst for education. He recently came back a third time and asked us to meet with his parents to talk about school. After a prolonged talk they agreed to allow Israel to go to school and find another option for their livestock. Israel promised to study hard so he can buy more livestock for his parents and pay someone to take care of them in the future.
2020 1st grade student. Sponsored by the Conner Family, Virginia, USA.
Keleli Pello Koin is a six-year-old girl from Oldonyo Lengai village in Engaruka. She is the forth born of her mother, Naalamala, a second wife. Keleli has four sisters and two brothers, none of whom are registered in school. None of her father’s 7 other children from his first wife are registered in school either. Naalamala secretly tried to register Keleli for pre-school but the family stopped her. Naalamala brought Keleli to EEMPS and requested Martha’s help with her husband. Martha met with the father and convinced him to let Keleli attend school. Naalamala is very positive about education and believes Keleli’s education will be a big support to her family.
Keleli is a 2020 1st grade student. She is sponsored by Jenny Revesz, Canada.
Nadamu Sapuro Mbacha is a girl and the last born of a very poor widow from Ngoisuk sub-village where the “Throat of God” (volcanic crater visited by tourists) is located. Ngoisuk is located many miles away from all the social services such as a school, clinic, water source, etc. This year Nadamu attended a one room nursery school built by Martha’s family for this remote village. During our frequent monitoring of the nursery school Nadamu stood out in class as an unusually intelligent young girl. When we learned about her family situation, we visited with her mother and village chairman and managed to rescue her from an early marriage and she is now registered for EEMPS school.
Nadamu is a 2020 1st grade student. She is sponsored by Mitchell Scalf of Indiana.
Naropil Naajai Olenaipaya is a six-and-a-half-year-old girl from Irerendeni village. Naropil is the first born of three children of a young mother, Naserian, who dropped out of primary school for marriage. Naropil’s mother was a very bright young girl but her parents arranged her marriage as the seventh wife of an old man. Naserian values education so she secretly came to Babu Matthew (Martha’s father-in-law and a respected elder) and asked him for help in convincing her husband to allow Naropil to attend school. Babu Matthew paid Naajai (Naropil’s father) a visit to apologize on behalf of Naserian for going behind his back and to allow Naropil to attend school rather than being traded for dowry. Due to Naajai’s respect for Babu Matthew he agreed but said all educational costs would be none of his business and that Naropil’s mother would be responsible. Naserian was very happy to know that her daughter is now free and safe from early/forced marriage. Naropil loves school.
Naropil is 2020 1st grade student. Sponsored by Christy Brown, Blacksburg, VA.
Papa Saibulu Leyan is the first born of his mother who died while giving birth to a sibling in 2017. Papa has been raised by one of his step mothers. The death of his mother caused him some psychological trauma. Papa does not live far from EEMPS and his father, Saibulu, helped us obtain land for the school. Saibulu owns less than twenty goats and he has no cows. We asked his father if he would like his son to go to school but he was uncertain and when we requested he bring Papa to school for an assessment he declined as he preferred for him to watch his goats as usual. Martha tried to call Saibulu on his mobile when Papa did not show up for registration, but he switched off his mobile phone. Martha then used a motorbike to look for him and drove from one grazing point to another and finally found him on the way from the cattle trough. After a long discussion about the boy and the importance of education Saibulu agreed to let Papa attend school.
Papa is a 2020 1st student. Sponsored by the McGee Family, Blacksburg, VA.
Sindiyo Papaa Kingi is a 6-year old girl from a family of six from Lake Natron in Ngorongoro district. Sindiyo’s elder sister is about to be married since she has completed her primary education (7th grade). Her parents are very poor and uneducated and do not recognize the value of education. Sindiyo’s older sister Maria (top center in white dress) received the first MEF scholarship and has been attending the Meru International school in Arusha for the past 18 months. Sindiyo would require full support because of her family’s poverty and would be a boarding student at EEMPS.
2020 2nd grade student. Sponsored by Theo Dillaha, Blacksburg, VA.
Taretoi Looseker Toto is a 7-year old boy from Oldoinyo Lengai (Mountain of God). He is very excited about the possibility of attending EEMPS and convinced us that he will manage. His parents are members of the ENCO Oldonyo Lengai village microenterprise group. The father has two wives and ten children. They have tried to register the children for school but with the long walking distance to the nearest school (6 miles), the children have dropped out. Taretoi’s older sister was married at the age of 13 and Taretoi said this was not good. Taretoi promised to study hard so his family will have a better future. His parents promised to give full cooperation, so their son can have better education.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Kerry Brisco.
Nashipay Solomon Laizer is a six-year-old girl from Pinyiny, a village near Lake Natron, which has only one distant and poorly equipped primary school. Nashipay was introduced to us by the village chairman who informing us that her parents had arranged her a husband refused to register her in primary school. Martha requested more details of the parents because she could not drive up to Pinyiny due to its remote location. Martha got the father’s mobile number and had a long discussion about his daughter. He gave the same reasons of not registering her to primary school: the long distance from home to school and there is no boarding and it is safer for her to stay home instead of walking the long distance to school every day. He did register one of his son’s in school on Nashipay’s behalf. Martha offered to let Nashipay attend EEMPS, which he initially rejected. After a long discussion he finally agreed and now Nashipay is safe from early marriage and likely FGM.
2020 1st grade student. She is sponsored by Nicky and Jamie Delmotte.
Seki Leloyan is a 6-year old girl, the second of two children born to a poor, mentally handicapped widow, Nemurra. Seki is from Lepolosi subvillage and her mother supports the family by begging for food. Seki has never met her father but says she wishes she had one because she believes life would have been much better. The family lives in a small hut built for them by their neighbors. Their old hut had to be abandoned because it was infested with insects and snakes. Two years ago, Seki’s left hand was bitten by a black spitting cobra while she was sleeping in her hut. Through a neighbor’s quick action, Seki was taken to a hospital in Arusha and survived. Her left hand and wrist are now deformed as a result. Seki’s neighbors nominated her for the EEMPS because they say she is a very bright and good-hearted girl who will have a great impact on her family if she is educated. Seki is one of the most vulnerable children attending EEMPS. Seki did so well as a pre-schooler that she was allowed to skip the 1st grade.
In late 2019, Seki was accepted as a patient at the Plaster House, in Arusha, Tanzania, which helps handicapped children in Tanzania. Seki was assessed and had surgery on her hand in December and returned to school in February. She may need additional surgeries in the future but she has much better use of her hand. Thank you Plaster House!
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Rebecca Caldwell, Virginia, USA
Napokie Hangarai Lenariku is a 7-year old girl from Oldonyo Lengai village and the second of three children. Her elder brother did not attend school. Her parents are positive about education and they wish their children could go to school; however, they live in poverty due to the loss of their livestock in the last drought. They believe that through different projects they will be able to support their children’s education in the future but now they need financial support for their daughter’s education. They hope to provide a small portion of Napokie’s school fees.
2020 2nd grade student. Sponsored by the Patrick Family, Virginia, USA
Naini Ngayeni Lesilau is a 8-year old girl. She is the youngest of 6 children. Esther, the mother of Naini, was forced to marry her husband at a young age and never enjoyed her marriage due to her husband’s complicated behaviors. Ngayeni Lesilau (Naini’s father) does not believe in educating girls and three of Naini’s sisters were forced leave school at early ages to be circumcised and married to much older men. Her father also planned to sell Naini to and older man. When Martha Olemisiko heard this, she made an extra effort to convince Ngayeni to let Naini attend EEMPS. He agreed, though he was not very pleased. Esther has promised to work hard to pay a portion of Naini’s school expenses.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Jenn Sporl and Jackie Crosbie, California, USA
Sereya Lanyor Malalo is a 7-year-old girl from Oldonyo Lengai and the second of five children from her mother. Sereya has lived with of her grandmother since she was less than a year old. Her grandmother chose not to register Sereya for primary school to keep Sereya close to her and help her with domestic activities. Her grandmother also believed that boarding schools are a total torment for girls and she did not want her precious granddaughter to go through that. Similarly, Sereya’s father did not want her educated because he planned to plan to marry off Sereya for her dowery when she reached puberty. Sereya’s grandmother became a member of an ENCO microenterprise women’s group and learned about the benefits of education and the dangers of early marriage for girls. She now supports Sereya’s education and schooling at the EEMPS. As a group member, she believes she will be able to support Sereya with pocket money.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Evelyn Parish, Virginia, USA
Elia Loserian Mollel is a 7-year old boy from Engaruka chini village and the first of four children of Nemburis and Loserian Mollel. Elia’s father is watchman in the city and his mother sells vegetables to make a living. Elia’s parents are very grateful for EEMPS’s acceptance of their son and they believe that if their son receives an education, he will be a leader in the community. Elia’s parents have promised to send Elia’s younger siblings to school.
2020 3rd grade student. Elia is sponsored by Dorothy and Gene Egger and Kirsten and Tony Deyerle, Virginia, USA.
Essra Mahame Mollel is a six-year-old girl from a family of five children from Engaruka juu. Namelock, her mother, is the second wife of Mr. Mahame Mollel and was married at puberty. Namelock has registered all her children in primary school as she does not want her children to experience the kind of life she has. She promised to fight hard to cover minor expenses for Essra. Namelock is very proud of Essra and says, “I can see a bright future ahead” for Essra if she is educated.
2020 2nd grade student. Sponsored by the Kibler family, New Jersey, USA
Innocent Sapuro Nangina is 8-year old boy, who was abandoned by his mother when he was two months old. He is from the Ngorongoro district. Sapura, his father, is a night guard and spent very little time with him. Due to lack of care and nutrition, Innocent was malnourished and stopped growing well. Fortunately, a friend of Sapura, who lives in Engaruka, offered to take care of Innocent and he is now doing much better. Innocent lives near the school site and has been voluntarily watering the school’s tree saplings and collecting gravel for construction. Innocent insists that he should attend EEMPS as he believes he will be smarter than any child. When Innocent interviewed for a position at the school, we thought he was too young because of his size, but after talking to him we realized that he was just stunted and very bright. His father is willing to support some of his expenses.
2020 2nd grade student. Sponsored by Jenn Sporl and Jackie Crosbie, California, USA
Lightness Raphael Paulo is a 6-year old girl from Engaruka juu village and the 6th daughter in family of 9 children. Her elder brothers and sisters attended primary school, but none attended secondary school. Lightness’s elder brother supports the family through what he earns from labor activities. This family has a few livestock and their mother sells vegetables to meet basic family needs. Lightness wants to study at EEMPS so she will learn English and she wants to be different from her siblings she said.
2020 2nd grade student. Sponsored by Jenn Sporl and Jackie Crosbie, New Jersey, USA
Kalley Laitetei Loiborrkeju is a 7-year old boy from Oldonyo Lengai village, Engaruka ward. His father abandoned the family and died soon after Kalley’s birth. Kalley’s mother, Neomom, earns a meager living selling firewood. Their only cow died during the severe drought last year. The family lives in an extreme poverty but Neomom is supportive of Kalley’s education and believes education will change their lives. Neomom fought to register Kalley for school because Kalley’s uncle wanted to keep him to watch his livestock instead of going to school. Kalley’s mother is very poor and cannot contribute much towards his educational costs.
2020 2nd grade student. Sponsored by Debra Eason, USA.
Miriam Martin is a 6-year old girl from Engaruka juu village. She has three brothers and one sister. Miriam lives with her both parents. Her mother, Theresia, is a very hard-working woman and through many small projects, she has been able to support her family. Theresia married very young following the death of her mother because she had no one to care for her. The Martins live close to EEMPS and Theresia did volunteer work at the school during its construction. Theresia is committed to support Miriam’s education and can pay a small portion of Miriam’s fees.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Mary Leigh Wolfe and Debra Cook, Virginia, USA.
Tomonik Mereso Mollel is a 6-year old girl from Engaruka chini village. She is the last born of her mother’s 8 children. Her late father had more than ten wives and 80 children. Only one of Tomonik’s brothers attended school and he is pleading for Tomonik to attend EEMPS to thwart her uncle’s plan to marry her off for her dowry. Tomonik’s brother is a night guard and has promised to help pay school fees.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by the Davis Family, Virginia, USA.
Furaha Ngonina Masaru is a 6-year old girl from Irerendeni village in Engaruka ward. Furaha is the youngest of four sisters. Two of her sisters were fortunate to attend primary school but they were married off after year seven. Furaha’s mother believes Furaha has a basic human right to education and that she should be free to choose when and who to marry. Furaha’s parents are willing to contribute some of the costs associated with her education.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by the Davis Family, Virginia, USA.
Nemayan Daudi Laizer is a 7-year old girl from the Lake Natron area in Ngorongoro district. Nemayan was the first girl who gave us a good reception when we went to Lake Natron in search of Maria Nasikoi Kingi in July 2016. Nemayan has always insisted on being taken to school like Maria and every time we go to Lake Natron she tries to block and enter our vehicle, so we will take her to school. Nemayan is a very bright, lovely, and insistent girl with great dreams for her education.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Bonnes/Nist Family, Ohio, USA.
Naisoi Solomon Lazier is a 7-year old girl from Oldonyo Lengai village. She is from a family of six children, five girls and one boy. Her two elder sisters were married at 15 years of age. Her parents have not believed in educating girls, instead they have thought of their daughters as a source of wealth through their dowries. Because we knew the family and the situation of the girls, we convinced Nasoi’s parents to let her be educated. The family agreed but they are not sure if they will be able to pay any of Naisoi’s school costs.
2020 2nd grade student. Sponsored by the Conner Family, Virginia, USA.
Mary Thomas Lekunga Laizer is a 7-year old girl from a family of seven children. They live in Engaruka juu village. Mary’s mother, Monica, was as an orphan and married very young. Monica’s husband has many wives and Monica and her children live in a sorrowful and impoverished situation. Monica sells firewood to sustain her family. Monica was blessed with seven beautiful girls, but none have attended school. The three oldest were married off at an early age. Monica is very desperate to educate her children, but she has no means to pay school fees. She wishes she could get a sponsor to pay Mary’s school fees until her situation stabilizes. Monica has great hopes for Mary and believes she will be a source of happiness if she is educated.
2020 2nd grade student. Sponsored by the Tarr Family, Italy.
Ndanapi Killel Meleji is a 7½-year old girl from Irerendeni village, Engaruka Ward. Ndanapi is being raised by a young single mother (Nemasi Killel). Nemasi was married to an older man from Ngorongoro district but due to too much cruelty she left him and moved home to live with her mother. A few years later, her mother (a widow) died and Nemasi has been working very hard to support herself and five children. Ndanapi will be the second child to attend school. Her mother believes that Ndanapi has great potential and she promised to support her with some little personal costs like uniform and pocket money. Nemasi is a member of one of Martha Olemisiko’s women’s microenterprise groups and added that Martha has been her inspiration and she hopes her beautiful girl will achieve as much as Martha.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Brian Benham and Karen Scalf-Benham, Virginia, USA.
Naipoi Lekeni Leruye is a 6-year old girl from Oldonyo Lengai village. She is the third of four children. Her elder brother completed primary school but is not sure if secondary school is possible due to the family’s poverty. Naipoi’s parents are nomadic pastoralists and depend on a few cows and goats for the family’s survival. Her mother believes in education rather than early marriage for girls and she opted to register Naipoi for school rather than her son. Her mother said that through education Naipoi will have better life and will be able to support her family and community as well. She also committed to support her daughter with her basic needs when she secures a sponsorship.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Spielmann Family, Vancouver, Canada.
Mbayan Sarimu Lesii is a 8-year old boy from Oldonyo Lengai village. Two of his six siblings (boys) went to primary school but they dropped out before graduation. His two elder sisters married at very young age. Mbayan is a very bright and determined boy. He has always cried for education, but his father did not want him to go to a boarding school or to walk a long distance to school. Mbayan says he wants a better life than what his older brothers and sisters are going through. He promised to work very hard to archive his dream of becoming a lawyer. His mother is a very supportive and active member of an ENCO women’s microenterprise group. She fully supports his education and provides some support .
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Jacqueline Bruce, Vancouver, Canada.
Nemoipo Moitiko Lesyre is a 7-year old girl from Oldonyo Lengai village. She had one older married sister who died during childbirth. Her mother, Naretoi, did not have any more children and her father divorced her since he wanted more children. Nemoipo’s mother was never happy in her arranged marriage because it ended her education. She was very bright, had graduated from primary school and expected to go to secondary school after successfully passing her secondary school entrance exams. Instead, she was severely beaten until she agreed to marry an old man. Now Naratoi is a single mother looking after her daughter and her mother. Nemoipo’s father does not want Nemoipo to attend school because he wants to sell her to an older man for the bridal dowry. However, Nemoipo and her mother believe that education is her only hope and will fight for Nemoipo to get her education and avoid the fate of her elder sister. Nemoipo believes that education will help her take control of her life and improve the life of her family.
2020 2nd grade student. Sponsored by Jacqueline Bruce, Vancouver, Canada.
Nosim Peter Lazier is a very hard-working girl in all categories. You will always find Nosim busy with something productive. As an “elder sister” of all, she helps do laundry, clean the dorm and classroom, and teach younger students how to wash, etc. Nosim has been working hard academically and in her recent exams she scored an A+ in three subjects (Math, English, Health Care) and Bs in Kiswahili and Sport and Art. Nosim would like to be an English teacher at the EEMPS school. Nosim wants to come back to the community and work to increase the number children enrolled in school.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Jacqueline Bruce, Vancouver, Canada.
Ndeyaa Matunda Masiaya is a 6-year old girl from Irerendeni village outside of Engaruka. Ndeeya has one brother and three sisters and she is the 3rd child. None of her siblings have attended school because they live more than three miles from Engaruka chini day school, the closest school. Noosikito, Ndeya’s mother, is very positive about school for Ndeya. In the past, she did not dare to talk about educating her children because she felt women had no say in the Maasai community. With the possibility of her daughter attending EEMPS, she declares that her prayers have been heard and she can’t imagine her daughter speaking English. She is now committed to Ndeyaa’s education and says the family will sell goats to get money to support some of her daughter’s costs.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Spielmann Family, Vancouver, Canada
Nainoi Loamu Leminis is a 7-year old girl from Oldonyo Lengai village. Her mother has 7 children and her father has 6 additional children through his second wife. None of her siblings have attended school because they live far from any schools. Nainoi’s father is unusual for a Maasai man. He is a member (the only male) of an ENCO women’s microenterprise group and is generating income through the group. Through ENCO capacity building training programs, he has been inspired to educate his children. He is willing and able to pay a portion of Naino’s school costs. Naino will be a boarding student at the school because her family lives so far from the school.
2020 2nd grade student. Sponsored by the Spielmann Family, Vancouver, Canada.
Namayani Julias Loborsek stood out on the first day of school. She is never shy to ask anything of anyone if she believes it’s a right thing. She is kind and very good hearted but more importantly she is very bright. When you visit EEMPS the first student to notice will be Namayani. Namayani loves to be at school and enjoys every activity. She is a good singer and enjoys evening devotion before bed. She always leads the song and prayer. Namayani has many friends and shares what little she has with her fellows. Namayani is an excellent student and received an A+ in all subjects on her recent exams!!. Namayani would like to be a doctor to improve the health of her community.
2020 3rd grade student. Sponsored by Service without Borders, Virginia Tech, USA.
Baraka Papaanye Kamwanga was the youngest boy in 2018 pre-school. He enjoys being at school and never misses a class for any reason. Baraka likes to play football with his friends, especially Laanyu (his agemate). Despite his age, he has been putting a lot of effort into school and on his recent exams he scored 88% in Math, 60% in English, 56% in Sport and Art, 72% in Health Care and 52% in Kiswahili. Baraka would like to be a lawyer and help support his big family. Baraka struggled this year academically because of his young age. He will repeat pre-school next year.
2020 1st grade student. Sponsored by Brian Benham and Karen Scalf-Benham, Virginia, USA.