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!
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.