In the year 2017, AMI requested that I go to Samburu and assist a Montessori education initiative which was to start in 2018. The Samburu people live in the Northern part of Kenya. They live a nomadic life and speak the Maa language. I asked Terry, a former Corner of Hope teacher, to come along with me, and she accepted. Two trainees from the Samburu community also started their training at St Ann's Montessori college in 2017.
The Samburu intitiative started with four teachers in 2018. That year, the aim was to introduce Montessori education to different Manyattas. The Manyattas are villages in a conservation area, with no school or health facilities. When we visited a Manyatta we laid our mat on the ground and gave a presentation with some Montessori materials. The parents and children were very interested to see what kind of education we offered.
At first Terry and I had a rough time because we did not know the language, though Tony and Stella, the trained teachers from Samburu, helped in translation. Gradually Terry learned and the language of Maa came to me again since I grew up in Samburu when I was young.
The pilot went on for about two terms. In the third term we got two small tents to place our materials in, though we would still work outside. The tents were placed on two sites, Tintil and Tampheen. We divided ourselves in groups of two teachers per site. The Montessori classrooms were now set up and the children, who before had no opportunity to get education, adapted quickly. Both communities were very happy and responded positively. In the year 2019, we received two big tents and four small tents. The children's house became bigger and we could now work inside as well. Two more trainees joined us. The children had quickly adapted to the Montessori curriculum and came to adore it. Now, many Manyattas are now requesting our school for their children to learn.
In January 2021 the Samburu schools expended and a third site located at Lengusaka was added to the two original sites. The Samburu team now consists of the 2 mentor teachers from Corner of Hope, 5 Samburu teachers, 2 teachers in their attachment year, and another 4 trainees who started their training in January 2021.