We are so excited to support the O’Brien School for the Maasai in the months of September and October for RMCC Gives! We spoke with Heather Bacon, our RMCC broker who helped found the organization, and learned more about the school’s history and achievements and what we can all do to help.
Tell us briefly about O’Brien School for the Maasai and how it started.
In 2006, my mother and I traveled to Tanzania to go on safari, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, and spend some time doing volunteer work. While there we would ask Sister Dona, the nun at the convent where we were staying and volunteering, what else can we do? Finally one day she said, “There is a Maasai man named Gabriel who keeps coming to us asking to help his village with a school.”
It was right then and there my mother and I knew what we needed to do.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by 150 members of the Maasai tribe. A few men stood before us and offered their most prized possession… their land – if we vowed to build a school for their children.
As we looked around at the many children surrounding us, it was right then and there that we discovered our real purpose of our trip to Africa…. to give the children of that village hope for the future.
What drew you to be involved with the O’Brien School for the Maasai mission?
The mission is simple: to bring an empowered future to the Maasai community and others by offering a primary education with an emphasis on moral character formation as well as entrepreneurial skills & building programs for women.
I Matter. You Matter. We Matter.
When you see the children at the school you immediately understand how important this school is not only to the children but also to the 30 teachers and staff that are employed and all of the community members. It truly takes a village.
What specifically will our donations go toward?
In years past we have been able to ship large containers with just about everything the school needed.
Due to the pandemic, we were unable to do that this past year so we are running dangerously low on food like Quaker Oatmeal, Manny Paks for nutrition, and the pallets of food that Feed my Starving Children donate to. We also typically collect used & new shoes to give to the students, staff, school workers, and community members and of course school supplies that are dwindling very fast.
The cost of a new container is $8,500 which is a lot more expensive than in the past, but we really need to get supplies to the school. 100% of your donations would go towards purchasing items for the container or helping with the shipping costs.
We’d love to hear a story that stands out to you that shows how O’Brien School for the Maasai has helped someone in need.
We had a playground set shipped over on a container and set up at the school. It was a large one that was taken down from an elementary school in the Chicagoland area. It was in great shape but 3 weeks after it had been installed on the school grounds, not one child had gotten on it. Becca, our director at the time, reached out to my mom totally perplexed. It was then it dawned on them, not one of these kids had ever been on playground equipment before. They simply did not even know how to use it.
There are so many things we take for granted in our lives… turning on a light, or a faucet, or even what pair of shoes we are going to wear. When you talk to a student at the O’Brien School for the Maasai you realize the gift of education and community.
What is the best way for people to help into the future?
One of the best ways to help is to spread the word about The O’Brien School for the Maasai and Share our information on social media, tell friends donated funds.. every dollar counts!
You never know who might want to spend time volunteering in Africa or wants to donate to education. Sharing our story is the best way. www.obrienschool.org
What do you see for the future of your organization in the next year or so?
We are constantly growing shifting and changing at the school. Since 2006 we have grown from just 3 classrooms to 10 classrooms, we educate nearly 400 students annually, employing 30 teachers and staff, dug 2 wells to provide fresh water, built a dining hall, built volunteer housing, opened a 4,000 book library, creating the women’s center projects, created a garden project where the kids eat the fruits and vegetables that are harvested and so much more.
We are on a path of continually growing and shifting to the students’ needs and learning the best way to educate them and help to form amazing human beings.
ABOUT RMCC GIVES: We’re celebrating our 40th anniversary by giving back through our #RMCCGives initiative! We will spend 2021 supporting five nonprofits nominated by our brokers. Stay tuned as we highlight each organization every two months and spend the time supporting their worthy causes. Want to find out how you can get involved? Contact us!
Read more about RMCC Gives on RISMedia’s Featured News HERE