Anastasia Terta has been prepared to go the extra mile to bring quality education to Maasai children who stood no chance in life. She spoke to Kajiado Star about her humble beginnings and passion in matters of education
“When I see these children becoming doctors, professors and pilots, this will be my greatest joy. The burden for the education of these children is what pushed me to come here. I had a good job, but I left it all.”
The story of Anastasia Terta is one of resilience and sheer determination in the face of adversity. As the director of the Royal Diadem School deep in Enkorika area of Kajiado County, Mrs Terta has seen it all in her efforts to create a better future for her pupils.
Seated in the school library which boasts of up to 3,000 volumes — most of them donations —Mrs Terta looks back with pride at the events of the preceding years that have propelled her brainchild, the Royal Diadem School, to attain such impressive heights.
A proud daughter of the late Paramount Chief Loisa Kipopo, Mrs Terta is also a committed Christian and leads the Oldonyo le Nkomono Prayer Ministry, which brings together men and women for regular prayers. The group holds interdenominational overnight prayer sessions for three days every month on a piece of land that they acquired from a benefactor. They have erected a prayer hall on the land and are planning to build a dormitory. The ministry also supports widows, as well as her school.
Educated at the local Enkorika Primary School and Rombo Girls School, where she sat for her Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) examination in 1980, Mrs Terta is also an alumnus of Isinya Girls School. After completing her secondary school studies in 1984, she proceeded to the National Youth Service, where she took a secretarial course. She later pursued a diploma at the Kenya Institute of Management, settling into a corporate lifestyle that would be the envy of many. Last year, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Counselling and Psychology from Breakthrough International University.
In the corporate arena, Mrs Terta worked at Flamingo Tours and at Johnson & Johnson, where she was Personal Assistant to the Country Director. Leaving employment to pursue her passion in a remote village among her Maasai people shocked many, but she is proud of the help and understanding of her husband, Titus Terta, and the rest of the family. Titus works with the KCB Bank in Nairobi.
Started in 2014, the school’s name was obtained from the words of the prophet Isaiah: “You will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God” (Isaiah 62:3). It currently boasts of a student population of 226 students, of whom 79 are in pre-school and the remaining 147 in the primary section.
The head teacher, Godfrey Sangoro, says the school faces enormous hurdles owing to the widespread poverty in the area. The school supports up to 60 orphans and needy children who are unable to pay fees and are only asked to buy school uniform. Some were brought to the school by the local provincial administration. But even for the fee-paying students, the school faces difficulties in getting paid.
“Payment of school fees is always a problem, especially during droughts. There is also the challenge of nomadic pastoralism, with families moving from place to place and this affects the education of their children,” said Sangoro.
The pre-school sits on a piece of land at the nearby shopping centre, while the main school is on a five-acre piece piece of family land a kilometre away.
In a community that is often in the news for all the wrong reasons when it comes to education — including female genital mutilation and child marriages — Mrs Terta is among the few women who have come up boldly to help change the narrative. In this effort, she collaborates with local chiefs and uses her own influence in the community to persuade parents to have all their children in school.
Despite the many sacrifices already made, the school faces continuous challenges to provide new facilities as the population of children grows with each passing year. At the end of 2022, the school will present its first class of candidates for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations.
But Mrs Terta remains undeterred and focused on the change she has brought to the community. “The impact is very great. People have seen the impact of quality education.”
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