Join Santa Fe-based all volunteer non-profit Global Running Culture and the village of Matunget, Kenya in their efforts to build a new school this fall, by donating to the Kipkalwa School Harambee, and helping to achieve the goal of raising $30,000 by March 1, 2018.
Five decades ago, Margaret Kosgei, the mother of GRC founder, Abraham Kosgei, created a school where there was none, to provide the young children of Matunget with a foundation for a brighter future. Margaret dedicated the next four decades to her students. After receiving her teaching credential and following in her mother’s footsteps, daughter Emily’s students have achieved national recognition for their academic success, despite a lack of resources and absence of government support for the school.
Abraham has dedicated himself to honoring his mother and helping the next generation by building a new school. In 2011, along with Joseph Karnes, he co-founded Global Running Culture, with the Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon as the primary funding source for GRC's mission of bettering the lives of youth through the powers of sport and education in 3 primarily indigenous communities where running is a vital part of the culture. Since then, GRC has covered much ground:
School designed by Santa Fe architect
Purchase and ship 72hp Ford tractor, 'Big Blue'
Big Blue was shipped to Matunget for use in school construction and income generation through a farming business to benefit the school, including the critical hot meals program. It was shipped, along with as many supplies as would fit, from Houston, TX in a 40-foot shipping container which will serve as a secure garage
Purchase of custom heavy duty trailer, disc harrow, plow, and stone for school building
For the past half century, the children of Matunget, Kenya have enjoyed a head start on life thanks to the passion and dedication of Margaret Kosgei. Perched a mile and a half high on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, this remote and beautiful area is known for producing some of the fastest distance runners on Earth. But not everyone can be a champion athlete and for the rest, life is hard.
The public elementary school is more than 10 kilometers away and by the time children are old enough to attend, many are occupied working on the family farm. Post-independence Kenya had no early childhood education program and Margaret noticed that youngsters were not prepared to excel, and the lack of a hot meal further dissuaded attendance.
Margaret, determined to start a school, obtained a donation of land from the local church and called for a Harambee to build a tin panel building to accommodate 75 students age 4-7. Starting in 1967, for the next 4 decades, Margaret taught the children as best she could, receiving as pay contributions of food from the students’ families, some of which she would cook for the mid-day meal.
The Kipkalwa School was always outside the official system and to this day does not receive government support. Margaret’s daughter Emily obtained her teaching credential and for the past decade has taught the students, who the Kenyan government has recognized through their exceptional performance at the Epke primary school.
Long ago, Margaret told her son Abraham “run for me”, and that is just what he did. Abraham ran around the world, was selected for the Kenyan 2000 Olympic team in the 1,500M run (he did not compete due to injury) and in 2005 made his home in Pojoaque, New Mexico where along with Joseph Karnes, he founded the Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon and Global Running Culture, an all-volunteer non-profit organization with the mission of bettering the lives of youth through the powers of sport and education in 3 primarily indigenous communities where running is a vital part of the culture: northern New Mexico, Matunget, Kenya and Copper Canyon, Mexico.
Like Margaret, GRC is determined to get things done. In addition to its local programs, over the past 6 years GRC carried out an assessment and Harambee in Matunget, purchased 4 acres of land, had the school designed by a well-known Santa Fe architect, stockpiled building materials, including 2,000 linear feet of stone blocks, purchased a 72 horsepower tractor “Big Blue” and shipped her to Kenya along with farming equipment. GRC will use Big Blue along with a heavy duty trailer GRC had manufactured in Kenya, to build the school and then to run a farming business, generating operating funds for the school, including the vital hot meal program, and transforming the economy of Matunget, which has never had a locally-based tractor. Abraham has met with the Governor of Elgeyo-Marakwet County along with many government officials and the prospects appear positive for support with operating expenses, though we do not intend to rely on that support.
To achieve construction of the new Kipkalwa School our fundraising goal is $30,000 for construction of the 3-classroom school and kitchen with a capacity of 100 students, along with educational supplies and funds for the first year of operation.
By donating, your support will be tangibly memorialized as part of the Kipkalwa School. Your donation of $25 or more will entitle you to a letter of the alphabet (you can even select which letter!), to be installed on the wall of a Kipkalwa School classroom, with your name inscribed. Your gift of $250 or more will be memorialized with a metal nameplate on one of the classroom chairs, bearing your name, along with your personal message to the students.
Global Running Culture and our friends in Matunget are working tirelessly to prepare for the school-raising Harambee this fall. Thank you for being a part of our story, and for sharing it.
We have come a long way and now ask for your support to build the school this fall. Donations of any amount are welcomed and gratefully received, and will be recognized on the Friends of Matunget scroll that will be posted during the Harambee celebration in Matunget this fall. Click here to donate now!