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Mobile schools for Kenya’s nomad children

For children living in Kenya’s travelling cattle herding communities, the day revolves around herding animals. And thousands of Kenyan children are missing out on an entire education because of this. Now a new approach is starting to solve that problem by taking the schools to the children rather than expecting the children to get to the schools.

The children learn on a shift system - lessons in the early morning then a stint looking after the animals and then they go back for another class in the late afternoon.“These children no longer have to make a choice between their nomadic lifestyle and an education - they can do both,” said teacher, Hassan Farah. "I really enjoy this job as I am from the same community and I want to help these children," Mr Farah told the BBC. "If it was not for me they would not have gone to school."

Lessons are held in the open air and with no whiteboards, Mr Farah, who teaches a total of 57 students - two-thirds of them boys, pins posters to the twigs of the tree to help with the English lesson. When a drought hits, the entire community packs up its homes, load up the camels and moves on in search of fresh pasture and water. The idea is that Mr Farah will go with them and set up his classroom wherever they pitch down. "We want to give them education according to their culture, according to their way of living," says the education office's Abdi Salat. "Once we move them to the villages, this is displacing them and we do not want to do that. "We have to reach them where they are and then they continue with their normal lives."

There’s 10 schools like Mr Farah’s in the African country’s Garissa district and each year some of the pupils go head off to board in government primary schools. "This school is a good idea because we are moving away from ignorance," says Zainab Sahal. "Education has been brought closer to us. We have to appreciate that. It's good that one of our own people is teaching here and our children are now gaining knowledge. "I have no fear of our way of life dying out. These children are our children. When they go to town they will come back."

By Hayley Jarvis for SOS Children