Funded by TEMBO Canada and officially opened in February 2015, the Longido District Learning Centre is a hub of activity for the entire Longido community where young and old learners gather to further their informal education. It houses a children’s and adult library, a computer centre, a study hall for independent learners, classrooms and meeting rooms. It is a space for preschool classes, adult literacy classes, a tailoring program for women and a space for community meetings. It also accommodates a host of school children who love to drop in after school to use the library. The Learning Centre has a staff of 8 including 3 teachers funded by the Longido District Council.
“The ABC’s of Sewing”
In November 2018, Learning in Longido launched a new tailoring program for women. The program was open to 20 women in the community, all of whom had attended LIL’s adult literacy program. Five women from four remote villages registed for the one-year program. After attending to family duties, the women walked between 2 and 8 km. to the Learning Centre eager to learn how to sew a school uniform. If they could learn this basic skill, they would have more money to spend on food and basic supplies, and perhaps sew uniforms for other families in the village.
On Monday, Tuesday and Friday afternoons, the women crowded into a small room with dedicated for the tailoring program. From outside the room, one could hear the thumping sound of a treadle sewing machine, the voice of the teacher providing instructions on how to make a pleated skirt and the constant chatter of women.
At the end of the one-year program, the women had acquired the skills to sew a simple white blouse, a pleated skirt and dresses for children. Recognizing that the women wanted and needed more instruction to become independent tailors, the program was extended for an additional year. It is expected that the first cohort of women will graduate in December 2020.
John Kilusu: “Education is the light and will serve me for life.”
John left Longido Secondary School in the middle of Form 3. He is from a traditional Maasai family. His father has four wives and a total of 30 children. Four of the children went to primary school; the rest have no schooling. John has been out of school for 3 years and is now 18. At home, there is nothing for him to do and there is no work. He wants to go to school but “my father is a colonial man. He is not supporting me. He gives me permission to go to school but no money.” When John heard about the Learning Centre he was there the following week and has been there every day since studying in preparation for exams. He wants an education to help his family and to help them have better health. In his words: “Education is the light and will serve me for life”.
Linda Laiser: “At our home we have no books.”
Linda went to Longido Secondary School and completed Form 4 but her marks were low and she wants to retake exams in History, Civics, English and Geography. Linda will write her exams in November and then she hopes to go to private school for Form 5. Linda plans to be a lawyer. “At our home we have no books. As a private candidate, I am not allowed to study at school while others are in class.” At the Learning Centre Linda and others in her situation have the opportunity to pursue their education.