A day in the life of Christopher Murray

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On 10th July 2007 Elizabeth Hamill and Trevor Barry of the Give a Girl a Chance team, accompanied by Feminenza CEO Mary Noble and Dr Brugnello Gomes, spent a day driving out to visit the school where Christopher Murray works and then visiting his home near Narok. Christopher Murray volunteers his time to help manage the Tasaru Girls Rescue Centre, one of the organizations that GGC supports. It was an opportunity for us to gain a deeper understanding of the life of a man who has dedicated himself to being an agent for change.

Enesampulai School is situated in the hills between Naivasha and Narok. It has its own 42 acre farm and the teachers live on site during the school year. The school caters for 728 pupils, some of whom walk 10 km each way every day to attend lessons. Chris has been the headmaster for 7 years and every Sunday he walks 4 hours from his home to spend the week at the school. It was here that Chris first became aware of the effects of early forced marriage and FGM when one of his brightest students suddenly stopped coming to class. On finding out that she was to be married off and would not be able to continue her education he decided to work with the Tasaru Girls Rescue Centre to help them provide a sanctuary for girls that choose to run away from their families, rather than face FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) or to be married off for a couple of cows to a much older man.

After a long journey over roads that really tested the capabilities of our 4×4 we arrived at the school. As we pulled into the compound, smiling, inquisitive faces began to appear in classroom doorways and it was impossible not to respond to their brightness. A beaming Chris took us to his office and told us about the school while showing us the many awards that it and its pupils had won.

After meeting the teachers we visited each of the classrooms and spent some time talking to the children. The older ones told us of their plans to be lawyers, engineers and doctors. After the tour it was break time and the children tumbled out into the compound to play with their friends. We found ourselves gradually surrounded by smiling faces and some of the children performed short songs about AIDS – a stark reminder that many of these children have lost family members to the virus, and that education has a crucial role to play for there to be a bright future for this next generation.

We left with a renewed appreciation of Christopher Murray – a man deeply committed to helping others, to making the world a better place. And I found myself reflecting that each of us in our own way, big or small, whatever our circumstance, can be a Christopher Murray. We just have to choose.

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