Saituku  Simon




Simon was born in 1998 and lives in Learata with his family of eight. Neither of his parents attended formal school and instead live the traditional Samburu nomadic lifestyle—moving from one place to another in search of pasture and water for their animals. As the oldest of six children, Simon began taking care of the animals at a young age. In fact, his father decided not to send him to school and opted to have him help with the family and animals exclusively. Unfortunately, in 2009, most of the family livestock died during a severe drought. Without their livestock and a means of survival, Simon’s father decided to finally send him to school. As the oldest child, he wanted Simon to be able to help his siblings in the future and an education seemed like the best possible solution. So, at the age of twelve, Simon joined Learata Primary School in class one. Much older (and taller) than all of his classmates, Simon’s determination and focus propelled him forward almost immediately.

Simon was right at home at Learata and excelled in mathematics. He mentions that he used to count the animals while looking after them as a young boy so mathematics was familiar and comforting. Over the course of his eight years at Learata, Simon earned the respect of all of his classmates and they chose him to be the prefect in class eight! His teachers speak highly of his honesty and humility. Simon is also quite well known for his volleyball skills—his height definitely working in his favor on the court. He credits volleyball for teaching him the importance of teamwork.

While Simon’s accomplishments thus far make him a very special young man, his accomplishments also opened doors for his younger siblings. Seeing Simon thrive at school encouraged his parents to send five of their six children to school. They now have students ranging from pre-school to high school! Each holiday, Simon returns home to help his family with the animals—demonstrating to his family and the community that you can truly have one foot in the modern world and one still firmly planted in traditional Samburu life.


Saituku Simon Saituku Simon
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