The story of Ambatana

A report by Verena Donislreiter & Lena Loidl

In the summer of 2013, we went to Kenya with the German organisation Bonfaremo from Mühldorf for several months to volunteer in their school project. We helped build new classrooms at Kings’ Academy school, harvested crops from the school’s field and spent a lot of time with the pupils.

Ongoing exchange with the local people was always important to us, which is how we met the Kenyan priest Father Tito by chance in the neighbouring village of Loitokitok. In the course of many conversations with him we found out about his organisation YISOG, which not only provides care for orphans but also supports families in need in the surrounding area. We were very impressed by Father Tito’s stories about the YISOG projects and wanted to accompany him on his visits to the Maasai’s land. When we saw the deplorable situation there at first hand, we were deeply concerned.

We met little children with branded cheeks. Their incisors had been pulled or cut out. A girl told us about how Father Tito had saved her from forced marriage at the age of twelve. Young widows told us about their fate and how at night they had to pretend to their hungry children that there would soon be something to eat – but in the end they only had stones to throw into the pot.

The way the Maasai people had to live left a lasting impression on us – as well as on our families and friends when we told them about the conditions. During our last few weeks in Kenya – just before Christmas – our friends and relatives donated a total of 3,200 euros without our knowledge. Overwhelmed by the fundraising campaign, we were able to provide many families with much needed food and ensure that their cooking pots would be full – at least for Christmas. Thanks to the large amount of money donated, we were also able to pay school fees for children who otherwise would not have been able to attend school.

Having seen for ourselves what donations can do and how urgently long-term support is needed, we wanted to continue working for a better perspective for these children with access to education and without hunger. That’s why we founded the organisation Ambatana e. V. in May 2014. Together with Father Tito and his relief organisation YISOG, our goal is to make a genuine difference in the long term.

Click here to find out more about our projects as a non-profit organisation.