Esther Moloimet is 26 years old. She lives in Olumukuna village, Kajiado County. Largely occupied by the Maasai community who are one the most well known African communities, because of their distinctive customs and dressing. Esther has never been to school as her parents who are also illiterate did not see value in educating a girl child.
As a young girl, instead of going to school, Esther accompanied her father looking for pastures for their cattle.
“ Whenever I went out grazing and would see some of my peers going to school, I felt very hurt and would often hide from them,’’ she says.
Esther got married at the age of twenty after undergoing female genital mutilation which is a rite of passage for girls in the Maasai culture. She had no source of income and depended on her husband. Mainly owing to ingrained traditional values, the vast majority of women living in rural areas are deprived off a means to earn an income. With most communities barring women from owning property, women living in rural areas constitute a special vulnerable group.
The dream to free herself from poverty drove Esther to join Dorcas self help group in 2014 and was enrolled for adult literacy training. She could only write her name. 6 months into the program, she could write simple Kiswahili words and do simple arithmetics.
“I said to myself, HiH EA has trained me for free; I have the skills. Why not start a nursery school. Schools here are very far and children have to walk for long distances often more than six kilometers to and from school. The young ones between the ages of 3 to 6 are unable to walk that far and end up staying at home. Most parents use them to take care of their cattle and end up not joining school.”
Esther’s nursery school which is under a tree in her compound has 13 children; 6 girls and 7 boys whom she trains from 8am to 1pm. She charges Ksh 2,000 for every child on a yearly basis. “My husband supports me and also teaches the children whenever I am in the group activities or other engagements. My dream is that one day I will own my school and make education accessible to all.” She concludes.