Sabore’s Well was founded in January 2009. The organization has drilled boreholes that have helped the Maasai community by bringing water collection points closer to the villages. It’s installed large water storage tanks to allow for constant and immediate access to safe clean drinking water. The Maasai community has benefited greatly especially the women who no longer have to walk long distances to the river to collect contaminated water. This water is better tasting and because of these wells dug by Sabore’s Well Project, it has also lead to the reduction of water borne diseases and thus reduced hospital visits and other medical costs for the local villagers.
Sabore Ole Oyie
Maasai Warrior and Elder Sabore Ole Oyie – graduated from Naikarra High School in Narok, Kenya and was honorably selected as a senior advisor to his community and elders. His education has played a major role in his ability to communicate in both his native languages, Kiswahili and English, as well as his tribal language, Maa. He uses his experience and knowledge gained from both his formal education and his warrior training to educate the community on the importance of school and preserving many cultural traditions.
As second-in-command to the chief, he emphasizes youth education and economic development for his community. He’s experienced the benefit of being sponsored to go to school, the critical need for education and the importance of learning so the community can be stronger and healthier. He continues to live in the traditional ways, including wearing the traditional Maasai clothing, carrying hand-made weapons for hunting and self-defense against lions, elephants and other dangerous wildlife, and living in a hut made from sticks and dung. He herds his cattle, sheep and goats, sometimes having to move them long distances to find greener pastures. In addition, he is a Cultural Ambassador for Kenya.
Sabore has traveled extensively throughout the world in order to bring awareness to the struggles of his homeland and to the beauty of the nomadic culture of the Maasai people.
Sabore’s participation in Global Leaders for Justice, an intensive program at Santa Clara University in California, was one such significant visit. It was through this curriculum, focused on building leadership qualities and transforming individuals visions into realities, that Sabore was inspired to augment his original goal of two wells and 5 girls in school to actually building schools and installing over 400 wells!
M. Thérèse Hjelm
Thérèse’s passion for Africa started as a child. She was introduced to this enchanting continent by her mother’s college roommate, Dian Fossey, the woman who studied and struggled to protect the gorillas in Virunga National Park and in Rwanda. Having her first trip to Africa in 1997, she describes it with one word – magical. Nine years later she was able to return and this time with her mother. Their adventure took them on safari and to the place in Tanzania where Dian’s career started.
In 2008, Thérèse met Maasai Warrior and Elder, Sabore Ole Oyie, while volunteering for a non-profit organization in Palo Alto, CA. She attended his demonstration of the Maasai Warrior training experience. During this event Thérèse learned Sabore and the organization’s founder were to present at a school near her home. The thought of them having to commute so early in the morning gave her the idea to offer them the use of her guest rooms. That gesture would end up being life changing and the beginning of a wonderful partnership.
January 2009 brought Thérèse back to Africa, this time to visit Sabore’s village. She observed first-hand the hardships his village and other local communities faced due to the lack of fresh clean water. At that moment, she knew she needed to help but was not sure how. Later in the year, Sabore returned to California for an educational tour describing what it’s like for boys and girls growing up Maasai. It was after Sabore finished a talk at Castilleja High School in Palo Alto that a student approached Thérèse with tears in her eyes asking if she could help. No sooner were the words out of her mouth that she reached out her hand and gave Thérèse three crumpled up $5 bills. That $15 became the first donation to Sabore’s Well. It’s moving and inspiring to realize this project started from the generosity of a 17 year-old girl.
A local clean drinking water source is vital for the survival of Sabore’s community. Without it the women would have to walk on average 14 miles round-trip to obtain water from the nearest river. It is from this same river that the residents bathe, wash their clothes, and that domestic and wild animals drink from. The potential clash between humans and wild animals is ever present. In addition, it is the responsibly of the young girls to help their mothers either collect the water or do their mothers chores instead of attending school. These are the reasons why Thérèse has chosen to take on this project.
Thérèse worked in the financial planning and investment industry for over 15 years and helped found a company in 1992. She left the corporate world several years ago to pursue her desire to dedicate her time to volunteer work. Her yearning to help and create opportunities for others has brought her to this challenging, but highly rewarding project assisting Sabore with building wells and now preschools for his community.