Maasai chief visits college

Bexhill College welcomes a Maasai chief and his wife
Bexhill College welcomes a Maasai chief and his wife

Maasai Chief Joseph Ole Tipanko and his wife Cicilia Seleyian recently visited Bexhill College to talk to Childcare students about their village tribe of over 6,000 people in Kenya.

They explained their campaign against cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation, Female Genital Circumcision, early child marriages and polygamy.

Through engaging community elders and educating their youth, they hope to eliminate these practices from their culture.

Students listened as the Maasai Chief said how it takes two hours to collect all the children in the village and walk them to school as there are no cars.

Each tribe has its own language and at school the children are taught English plus one other language which all tribes learn in order to communicate with each other.

Joseph and Cicilia taught the students how to count from one to ten in sign language in three different languages – their own tribe, the universal tribe and English.

They discussed serious issues that their people are facing and how they encourage children to be sent to boarding school in order to protect them while they gain an education.

The talk concluded with a vibrant traditional dance and song from their Maasai tribe in which college students volunteered to participate.

Joseph said: “We would welcome any of you to visit us in Kenya and be part of our tribe. You could teach English, lead activities with the children and share experiences within our lifestyle.”

His wife Cicilia brought some of her hand-made jewellery from the village which was also for sale.

Bexhill College are collecting donations for their registered charity Maasai Good Salvage (MAGSA) Outreach and holding a Christmas raffle in aid of this cause.

Joseph said it could take up to ten years to see any change but with help and support more children can be saved and protected.

Bexhill college staff and students donned their funniest festive and novelty knitwear for Christmas Jumper Day and raised £175 on the day for Save the Children UK.

As well as supporting Save the Children and the Maasai charity MAGSA Outreach, Bexhill College has been collecting supplies for food banks as well as local charity Surviving Christmas.

This local cause provides food hampers, gifts and meals for those in Hastings and Rother suffering hardship or distress. Small gifts, tinned food and Christmas treats are being donated and members of staff delivered them on Monday December 22 and also on Boxing Day.

Tracy Penfold, teaching assistant, delivered hampers in Hastings.

She said: “We wanted to support a local cause which can really change somebody’s Christmas. For those in financial or emotional hardship, Christmas can be a distressing and very lonely time.”

Picture Information: Maasai Chief Joseph Ole Tipanko and his wife Cicilia Seleyian with Bexhill College Childcare students.