El Rar primary school is a small school in the remote semi arid area north of Garissa, 6 hours drive from Nairobi. It is close to the boundary of Kora National Park and as such is strategically important for conservation.
TAS is supporting several schools in this area to ensure that communities surrounding the park see some benefit from conservation activities.
El Rar was started 5 years ago to serve the nomadic families which congregate around the nearby wells. Their livelihood is keeping goats and cattle. 106 children are on roll (60% are boys), and all of them are from these very poor families who have no tradition of formal education. The parents need a lot of support to enable them to educate their children, particularly their daughters.
The headteacher and the nursery are the only government teachers; one other teacher is funded by the parents.
The school sits on a 5 acre plot. 5 classrooms of varying quality have been built by the government and TAS has contributed latrines, desks or chairs, kitchen and storeroom. But there is still no staff room, no dormitories, no fence and very few teaching resources. The school has borrowed some blackboards from Boka Primary School – another TAS supported school 25 km away.
There are 4 tanks but only one is connected to guttering on one of the buildings. The water in that tank ran out in May so for the last 6 months the children go to hand dug wells 1 km away and bring 3 litres to school in a can every day.
The children and staff are hugely welcoming and the local trust has some able members of the community as trustees. However this is a complicated community and education is not the highest priority for many parents.
The new treasurer, David Kombe, is a highly committed and able engineer based in Nairobi.
This is a school with lots of potential for expansion and there are already indications that next year's intake will bring the school roll up to 120.