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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

O'Brien School for the Maasai NFP

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Food, Homeless & Housing, International, International Development

Mission: Our mission is to provide the people of this Massai village in Tanzania, Africa, with everything they need to gain an education and the skills to enhance their quality of living.

Target demographics: the Maasai community of Sanya Station

Direct beneficiaries per year: 350 students, 35 staff members, 110 widows, 85 women, and 150 village elders

Geographic areas served: Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Programs: education for the children, jewelry projects for the women, and other community assistance programs.

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Deb_9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for several years, in various capacities, for the O'Brien School for the Maasai. What an amazing organization which does so much for this remote Maasai village. I was fortunate enough to visit the school and see the work all the fundraising efforts produced. This organization is such a grass roots non profit, drawing its funding and supplies from the community. From shoe collections, to Quaker Oatmeal drives, to blanket making groups, to Garden Party Fundraisers, people from all walks of life come together to donate their, time talent & treasures. It is quite a site to see the container being loaded out side Kellie O'Brien's (founder & President) house each fall with donations for the school & village. Every dollar collected goes directly to the school and village as the board & committee donate their time and talents too!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I continue to be amazed by this grassroots charity. I have been on the committee several years helping with the Fundraisers. Every dollar raised and then some is put to use in such a way that so much is accomplished with so little. A great example is a grant we received to build a dining hall. It is open air with a stage and tables with separate benches. This allows the space to be used for the school's performances, for school assemblies, for village meetings, for visiting medical teams to set up a clinic, for special events of the village and for movie nites as well as a clean dining hall. A secure storage area was also incorporated at one end as well with a covered spot to park the school van. Very smart design and execution.
I was fortunate enough to visit the school and see the impact this school has made for this Maasai Tribe. If you want to make a difference and get the most from your charity dollars, you won't be disappointed in the O'Brien School For the Maasai.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was at the O’Brien School for the Maasai for only a few days, but what I saw and experienced in those short three days is something I will never forget. As a nursing student on a global health trip, I was very excited to take this journey to go help people, little did I know, I would also gain so much from this great organization. Before we went into the Maasai village, staff members from the O’Brien School for the Maasai came to our group to welcome us to Tanzania and to help us learn about the culture we would be working with. It was very evident that these staff members were genuinely happy that we were there to help provide medical assistant to the members of the Maasai village that they work so closely with. Once we arrived in the village, their hospitality continued. I am still amazed at everything this school does to help the children grow and succeed and to help this wonderful community prosper. The excitement to learn is so evident in all of the children that I had an opportunity to work with. I love to see how this organization continues to serve the families of the area and looks for other opportunities to support these wonderful people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Although I was only at the school and in Tanzania for a short amount of time, I fell in love with everything! The people at the school are so friendly and welcoming and everything about the school is incredibly inspiring. Although my stay was short, I am already planning for the next time I am able to make it back to volunteer again. Honestly a great organization, I'm glad I was able to be a small part of it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for the International Service Learning group that traveled to Tanzania in May of 2014. I got to be apart of this amazing community at the O'Brien School for the Maasai. I spent my time at the school for 3 days, 1 day visiting and the other 2 I was with a group of my peers conducting a walk-in clinic. Many of the community members I saw were so grateful for the help we offered. The children at the school were playful, friendly, and they just wanted to get to know us. I will always remember their smiles when they saw us driving into their village. They learned that we cared for them and that we wanted to help in anyway we could. A mother came up to me and motioned at her daughter's feet. She had cracked swollen feet that were in need of cleaning, lotion, and bandages. The little girl was frightened at first and I could remember her crying as we washed her feet. She was unsure of what we were doing but realized at the end that we cared and only wanted to help. She was smiling from ear to ear when we were finished wrapping her feet. The most humble of acts mean the world to both us and the villagers. This experience opened my eyes to the world around me. The amount of happiness that I took away from this experience will last me a lifetime .

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered as the Office Manager at the O'Brien School for one year from 2012-2013 and returned this past summer (2014) to visit and volunteer again. I continue to be so impressed by the progress being made thanks to a great American team as well as the Tanzanian staff, students, and community members. This collaboration between dedicated Americans and Tanzanians enables the O'Brien School to provide the residents of the Maasai village it serves with one of the best schools in its district, along with employment and empowerment opportunities. I will continue to be involved with this organization for a very long time; the impact that the school has on not only the students, but the entire village is tremendous.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am one of the first long-term volunteers here at the O'Brien School for the Maasai -- I will be here for at least one year. I have already been here for almost 2 months, and the experience has been truly unforgettable. The school is a beautiful green oasis in the middle of a dry, dusty Maasai village. Without this school, the children of Sanya Station, Tanzania would not have any access to quality education. By teaching these Maasai children valuable skills in English, mathematics, reading, character building, and other important subjects, we are working to empower a future generation of leaders -- not just of Tanzania, but of the world. Not only does the school educate the boys and girls of the village, but we also have a women's center which teaches the women of the village valuable skills. Volunteering here and seeing how welcoming and beautiful all of these people are, inside and out, has already made a huge impact on my life. The O'Brien School is doing so much for the Maasai of Sanya Station; it is a great organization.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Windsor in Windsor Ontario Canada, we have been taking a group of teachers to the O'Brien School for the Maasai every year since 2010. This is the most meaningful thing that I do in my life - going to Tanzania to work with the most amazing group of children. The children are gracious, respectful and deeply conscientious learners. The children in Tanzania have the greatest desire to learn and to make the most of their learning. With 100% of donations going towards the children, I fully support the O'Brien school's dream in creating, nurturing, supporting these self-empowered leaders of tomorrow. This is the benchmark for working on the continent - 'investment' in the children (paying particular attention to women and girls) and moving totally away from the old outdated model of 'hand-outs' and 'saving.' I an honored to be a part if that vision.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just returned from my third volunteer trip to the O'Brien School, and if the first two experiences weren't rewarding enough, this last experience was positively exceptional. The engagement of the community around the school is particularly of note, and from what I witnessed this last trip - its at an all time high; and my sense is that the community is only scratching the surface with how this school is embraced and revered. Overall, the emphasis on quality in every respect is what makes this school so special, and that is no easy task in a remote area of Tanzania. In that, the school attracts some of the best teachers in the region. It is churning out remarkable students, who will undoubtedly be great future leaders and super parents. The community has benefited exponentially from this school... it is clearly a great source of pride given the immense contributions of those from miles around.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a part of the O'Brien School for the Maasai since the beginning. The impact this school is making on not only the kids, but the families and surrounding community is incredible. To see first hand how this school has grown over the last 8 years is amazing. There is no substitute for educating a child and the children at The O'Brien School for the Maasai are growing up to be great leaders of Tanzania. I am so proud to be a part of this organization.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

It's not often that you see a grassroots organization make as large as an impact as the The O'Brien School for the Maasai has, not only in Tanzania but also right in Hinsdale and the surrounding communities where the volunteers live. To know that you can change the life course of a child is an amazing thing. In a few short years we have transformed a village into a learning meca for children and their parents. We have brought in water and electricity to a school with 320 children. Our library has over 3,000 books and our women's center is empowering our women to help provide for their families. Our volunteers have gone back again and again and again to help because they understand the impact they are having on these children and their families. This is an organization with a lot of heart and passion.

Review from Guidestar

geoff-c

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience volunteering with the O'Brien School for the Maasai (4.5 years ago) was the catalyst that directed me towards living a life with lasting purpose. The Maasai people were beautiful, welcoming and hopeful. I loved playing soccer and spending time with the children. I was amazed at what the O'Brien School had accomplished, and at the organization's determination to reach for the stars. I've kept track of their progress and The O'Brien School continues to make an incredible difference for that village community in Tanzania. I believe wholeheartedly in their mission, and while my life now has me intimately involved with another international non-profit, I hope to return someday. May blessings abound for all those involved with the O'Brien School!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Although I only spent a short time at this school during my stay in Tanzania, it was one of the greatest experiences I had. The people are all so sweet and so welcoming. This school is such a great opportunity for the Maasai kids to become educated and have a place to belong to. Every person who volunteers/works at the school is kind and extremely welcoming to anyone who visits. I loved seeing how the O'Brien school helped so many people in so many different ways and brought a community of people closer. What an awesome organization.

1 Helen30

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The O'Brien School for the Maasai is a hidden gem in the middle of a maasai village in Tanzania. I volunteered at the school for a 2 month period in the summer of 2013 with a friend. The school director and the office manager were amazing and ran the school better than most schools are run in the US. Kellie, the founder of the organization, is very inspirational and nothing can stop her from doing all she can to help the children of Sanya Station. The students are extremely polite, eager to learn and excel in their daily classes. Not only do the students attend school at OBSM, but they return home to their families to work. It's amazing that OBSM is able to provide such a quality education to these students and that they are so willing to learn to get the career or future they know they deserve. I enjoyed my time at the school and would return in a heartbeat, as I'm sure any volunteer would say.

1 Kellie O.

Board Member

Rating: 5


100% of all donations goes directly to the project.

O'Brien School is helping hundreds of children who live in dung huts attend a beautiful school
in the middle of their poor village. All of their desk, school supplies, shoes & white boards are all
recycled from the western suburbs of Il. Local schools donate oatmeal and Feed My Starving Children
help us feed 370 students two healthy meals a day. In addition, over 100 widows are helped through our 'Upendo' jewelry project, using their natural talents for beading to make beautiful items sold in
the US.


Our English Medium school is a great source of pride for all who live in the village and the students
are excited about having a future empowered by a high standard of education. They aspire to
be the next leaders of Tanzania. Without this school, they would have little hope for a better
future. The hundreds of volunteers that come to work at the school, not only share their love
and talents with the village but go back forever changed.



2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently a long-term volunteer at the O'Brien School for the Maasai. I've been here for about 8 months already and am even more excited about the months ahead. I've established amazing relationships with the American Board, committee, and supporters in addition to the Tanzanian teachers, staff, and students.
The greatest part of the O'Brien School is the undying dedication to the whole community. The students are performing top in the district, the teachers are constantly looking for ways to improve and enrich their lessons, the women are making their first income with the jewelry projects.
I couldn't imagine a better way to spend my years after college than working with a superb American team and living with the most welcoming people I've ever met.

2 Cindy74

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am honored to be affiliated with the O'Brien School for the Maasai! Kellie O'Brien is an inspiration to all that come in contact with her. Kellie and her daughter traveled to Tanzania Africa and discovered and impoverished village of Maasai people. They desperately wanted a school for their children. With the help of family and friends a school, access to well water, a womens' center and so much more have now become apart of their lives. I am in awe of all the wonderful work that has been done. This is a wonderful organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The success that the school has realized is in direct correlation to the dedication of the founders, the support of generous donors and the commitment to education by the village. It has been an absolute privilege to provide my time, talent and resources to this worthy organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I thoroughly enjoy helping this fantastic organization. I had the privilege of visiting this amazing school and it was a joy to see the happy children learning and enjoying life. Kellie is truly changing lives in the Maasai students and their families. Helping this organization is definitely time well spent!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is a charity that is bringing hope to a village where there had been little hope. Their dream was to have their children educated. Five years ago the O'Brien school accepted this challenge and through the help of family and friends built a school for 400 children. A well was dug, electricity was brought to the village. The children are being educated, they are being fed two healthy meals a day, they have fresh drinking water and are practicing personal hygiene. A vocatonal center, for the women was started and the women are sewing and making jewelry to earn money for their families. A garden and trees have been planted to provide fresh produce. Food is being sent from America and the women are learning how to make healthy meals from what they have. All of this is life changing for this village, but especially for the young girls. The girls are married at an early age if they are not in school. If they are in school and doing well they are allowed to continue their education. This education is allowing for the possibility of a bright future for these girls and their village. One hundred percent of the funds collected and donations made go directly to the school. This is a grass roots organization, made up of caring generous people who want to make a positive difference in this world.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been to the school three times and the progress each time is exponential. From the physical structures to the education of the children it is amazing to see the continued momentum. Unlike some other organizations 100% of every dollar goes directly to the school.