LBHS continues support of Kenyan school

Woven and beaded jewelry sold during breaks of 'Hello, Dolly!' performances will benefit students in African nation.

March 20, 2013|By Bryce Alderton
(Courtesy Jun Shen )

Jewelry from a Kenyan village has arrived and Laguna Beach High teacher Jun Shen plans to sell the bracelets, belts, necklaces, headdresses and key chains during intermission performances of a musical later this week to benefit a school in Kenya.

Shen and the school's Model United Nations group plan to sell the jewelry during breaks of "Hello, Dolly!" on March 22 and 23, pending the Associated Student Body's approval, inside the Artists Theatre. Prices for the jewelry, most of which are bracelets, will range from $10 to $40, depending on the item's intricacy, Shen said in an email. Proceeds will go to a school in Oloolaimutia, a Kenyan village Shen first visited last year.

A MUN conference at Laguna Beach High March 9 generated $128, which will help raise standards of living for the Maasai tribe there, Shen said. He created a foundation to raise money for the Kenyan school at the urging of students, according to a previous Coastline Pilot story.


The Maasai are known for their bead work, so all jewelry is woven or incorporating strung beads, Shen said.

Children often walk barefoot to school, some from 9 miles away, on rural, unpaved roads, the story said. Teachers in Oloolaimutia earn about $1,000 per year, and some of them travel 65 miles to reach a computer.

As many as 95% of female villagers are uneducated and earn money from making bracelets.

Laguna Beach High's MUN program also started a pen-pal program with the Oloolaimutia school with the help of El Morro Elementary School teachers Mary Blanton and Christine Wagner, Shen said. Blanton and Wagner received a list of names of Kenyan students. Shen is waiting for the first batch of letters from El Morro.

MUN Foundation members will also make 50 donation boxes in the coming weeks and place them at Laguna Beach schools and businesses to raise more money for the Oloolaimutia school.

Twitter: @AldertonBryce 

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