EF Academy Welcomes Kenyan Chief to Speak on Education

This year, a small group of students at EF Academy New York have created a speaker series called “EF Talks,” where interesting thought leaders who are experts in a variety of compelling topics visit campus to give an interactive presentation to our students. The students behind EF Talks created the series with several goals in mind: to provide a space for students to learn from industry leaders in several fields by giving students a chance to ask questions, practice networking, and discuss our rapidly-changing world.

The next installment of EF Talks will occur on Thursday, November 15th at 4:00 PM in our campus theatre. On Thursday, students and interested members of the community will gather to hear from Chief George Lemerketo, a native of Northern Kenya and the leader of the Samburu tribe. Chief Lemerketo is traveling all the way from Kenya to share his story of growing up in rural West Africa and reflect upon the importance (and, often, the privilege) of having access to education.

In addition to being the Chief of the Samburu tribe, Lemerketo is the President of the Board of the Sereolipi Nomadic Education Trust. This trust is part of the Thorn Tree Project, a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide primary (and in some cases, secondary) education to the children of the Samburu tribe. Since its foundation in 2002, the Thorn Tree Project has helped to provide education to more than 1500 children.

Mara Govaerts, a senior at EF Academy, has been involved with the Thorn Tree Project for most of her life. Having visited Northern Kenya and the Samburu often throughout her childhood, Mara understands how fortunate she is to have quality education—and she wants to give back. In collaboration with the Thorn Tree Project, Mara has started the “Build a Dorm” initiative at EF Academy. This project focuses on the building and repair of dorm rooms at three schools, where storms have recently destroyed some of the existing residences. Currently, many students are sleeping in the library because of the destruction, and Mara’s Build a Dorm initiative is in the process of fundraising to reconstruct a 30-person boys’ dormitory and alleviate this uncomfortable living situation.

To support the Build a Dorm project, Chief George Lemerketo will engage in discussion with Mara about the significance of education and the ways that our school can be involved in the fight to make basic education accessible to all. This event will be an opportunity for the EF Academy community to learn more about this cause as Chief George encourages students to reflect on their own educational experiences.

The event takes place at EF Academy, 582 Columbus Ave in Thornwood. For more information on efforts to educate the children of northern Kenya visit thorntreeproject.org.

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About the Author: Alain Begun