It is just a usual dormitory with 40 metal beds, two showers and toilets und a room for the supervisor, who takes care of everything. However, for 40 girls from the Ilparakuo school close to the Magadi lake in Kenya, this room brings new and unimagined possibilities for their life. Without this room they are not allowed to finish the classes 6-8 of their primary education.
In the beginning, we didn’t understand the importance of this dormitory since the Ilparakuo school is an all-day school and not a boarding school. Nevertheless, after gaining more knowledge about the Maasai mentality we finally understood: During the last three years before finishing school, children get additional evening tutoring, so they are able to succeed in the central final exam. The young Maasai study with the light of solar lamps in order to counteract the massive educational backlog, which they have compared to children from the city. They haven’t seen a lot in their life except for stones, thorn scrubs, goats and cows. Since the sunset is at 6pm, the children have to return home in complete darkness. This is dangerous because girls can be attacked by Maasai men who use their traditional rights as an excuse. This is why, it is not surprising that fathers are quite reluctant to send their daughters to school and thus jeopardize the possibility to finish school.
Nine girls, guarded by fearless Maasai women, already moved to the dormitory before the official entry date. These nine girls were sold by their fathers to old men into marriage. This trade was stopped in the last moment. Since they have the dormitory teachers, students and Maasai women can fight the stubbornness of some Maasai men.