Haka Catches On With Kids in Kenya

This video will make up your warm fuzzy quota for the day.

It’s a group of boys at Aberdare Ranges Primary School in rural Kenya performing the haka for their sponsoring charity So They Can. They learnt it from All Black Conrad Smith - a So They Can ambassador - who visited the school in 2010 and 2012.

I visited last week and at first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking Aberdare Ranges is a fancy private school. The children are immaculately dressed in blue uniforms, inspirational quotes are posted around the grounds and the buildings are complete, unlike many in the surrounding area. But this isn’t a private school. It’s exactly the opposite: a school purpose built for the poorest of the poor.

Students at Aberdare Ranges.

In 2007, Kenyan election violence saw 1,500 people killed. The crisis forced about 600,000 people from their homes, with many of them ending up in camps for internally displaced people. Many are still in those camps today.

Kiwi charity So They Can responded to the crisis. When its chief executive, Cassandra Treadwell, asked what the community needed, they didn’t ask for toilets or permanent housing; they asked for a school.

Camp Chairman Moses Mbugua told me only education can break the poverty cycle and give the next generation the knowledge and skills needed to see past tribal politics and conflict.

Now 820 children aged between 3 and 13 attend Aberdare Ranges Primary School. About 85% are from the nearby camp and some walk up to five kilometres to get to class. They start at 7am with sorghum porridge and uniform inspections and don’t finish until after 5pm. It’s a long day but attendance is almost 100%. Every one of these kids wants to be here and wants to learn.

Sam Hayes travelled courtesy of Trilogy.