Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy works with Maasai communities in the Masai Mara to positively impact education, encourage conservation, and develop community enterprise
The natural resources and astounding biodiversity of the Masai Mara draw visitors from around the globe
In 1982 Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy formalized our long history of collaboration with local Maasai communities to plan their own development and enterprise priorities. Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy programs include building classrooms; sponsoring student school fees; developing micro-enterprise initiatives for women’s groups; encouraging early literacy through the introduction of digital e-readers (Kindles) now in nine schools; and introducing local Maasai children to their natural heritage with field trips into the Masai Mara National Reserve.
While staying at Sanctuary Olonana, visit local schools to see how children learn in rural Kenya, meet with members of a Maasai village to take part in local customs, or shop for an authentic craft from a women’s micro-enterprise bead-making group.
Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy believes education is the key to empowering the people of the Masai Mara. We work with the region’s schools to enhance the learning environment and provide the resources necessary to give students a solid academic foundation for their future. At Enkereri Primary School we built classrooms, a library, administration building, kitchen, and dining hall. A new lunch program ensures children have the energy to keep up with their studies by feeding 400 students daily. Enkereri School is also one of nine schools in the Masai Mara that is participating in our digital literacy program, which utilizes e-readers loaded with textbooks and literature.
Human-wildlife conflict is prevalent in the Masai Mara. Predator species often make an easy meal of Maasai cattle and elephants and other animals trample and eat crops. To educate children about their local wildlife and to inspire appreciation of the unique animals, Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy takes children on Rhino Watch Trips and currently 375 children have been. These excursions introduce the animals to the students much in the same way a Sanctuary Retreats guest would experience them. In teaching about the animals and their importance to the ecosystem and the tourism industry, we are building up a new generation of wildlife and conservation advocates.
Mara-rianda Clinic is the only available medical center in a 20 kilometre radius in a region where the primary transport is by foot. Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy is assisting the clinic, which sees 100 patients every day, meet the healthcare needs of the surrounding communities through the provision of medical supplies and equipment.
The traditional beadwork crafted by the Maasai women encompasses powerful design elements reflecting their values and beliefs. Green represents grass, essential for nourishing cattle which are an important part of the Massai way of life, red is the blood of the cattle, and white is the milk. Blue represents the sky and embraces the Maasai belief in Enkai (God). Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy trains and assists a women’s group to create and sell the traditional beadwork for guests at Sanctuary Olonana. The project provides the participants with an income and brings together women from several clans to promote harmony and a sense of community.