Ndonyo Wasin Partnership
For over a decade, Packer has built a relationship with the Ndonyo Wasin Primary School, a residential school for children from the nomadic Samburu people of northeastern Kenya.
The mission of our partnership with Ndonyo Wasin Primary School has three facets:
In keeping with Packer’s mission to develop globally-minded individuals, our partnership with the Ndonyo Wasin Primary School aims to foster cultural awareness by building relationships between the communities, students, and faculty of our schools. To further this connection, Packer faculty members travel annually to Kenya to engage with students and collaborate with the faculty in professional development. Additionally, we maintain a commitment to student-driven fundraising based on the expressed needs of the Ndonyo Wasin community.
Packer's partnership with Ndonyo Wasin enriches the experiences of our Preschool, Lower, and Middle School students through:
Curriculum integration. Through the annual exchange of letters, videos, photos, drawings, and class-made books, both Packer students and Ndonyo Wasin students learn about each other’s lives, cultures, and environments. The Ndonyo Wasin school song, “Popalai Nowi Poyaki,” is taught to all Lower School students and is often heard at events such as the May Day Arts Festival.
Informed Philanthropy. Packer students come to understand the needs of our partner school. All students participate in a division-wide biennial fundraising effort to benefit Ndonyo Wasin, targeting the expressed needs of our partner school. The Lower School students’ spring 2014 Read-a-Thon, for example, raised over $30,000 to provide NWPS students and faculty with transportation for field trips and essential classroom books and supplies.
Deeper enrichment through faculty travel. Members of our faculty travel to Ndonyo Wasin every other year to collaborate with the faculty there and engage with students and, upon their return, to share with our students stories, local artifacts, and student work — plus photos and videos that bring their experiences in Kenya vividly to life for all of our students.
The Samburu people live in Northeastern Kenya, just above the equator in the Samburu Province bordering Ethiopia. A tribal community, most of the Samburu live in small groups of families (between 8-15 families) in the valleys and mountains of a 4,500-square-mile area of the northern Rift Valley. Although they have traditionally been semi-nomadic herders, there are more cases of families settled semi-permanently in the bush and in villages like Sereolipi and Ndonyo Wasin.
Because of the extremely hot and dry climate, much of Samburu culture reflects their cooperative efforts to care for everyone and withstand hardships like droughts. In recent years, however, the environmental realities of climate change have made livestock more vulnerable, forcing changes to the Samburu’s longstanding way of life. Younger generations of the Samburu must find alternative ways of making a living to ensure the survival of the culture and community.