Tareto Maa Organization

Tareto Maa is a community based organization in rural Kenya. The self-help group runs information campaigns on Girls' Rights and Child Health, and aims to overcome the outdated traditions of female circumcision and forced marriages within the Maasai community. Tareto Maa offers a Relief Center for young girls in our community, who refuse to be mutilated and married without consent. By this means we aim to overcome outdated, illegal and violent traditions which cause so much harm to the girls. The group's work focuses on the region where we are seated: Kilgoris and the surrounding area in Transmara District. The local pastor is a member of the community project and acts as a contact person ...
Jul 7, 2015

Protecting the new generation from FGM

Helen
Helen

The Story of my Sister Helen:

My name is Helen. I was born in 1985, as the 6th child in a polygamous family which counted my father and his 6 wifes.

My village where I grew up is called Osupuko. It is located near Kilgoris in the Transmara West District.

I completed primary school 8 years in Osupuko.

My education ended at the age of 14 when my parents decided that it was time for me to get married. According to the Maasai tradition, a girl can only be seen as a woman once she has undergone the traditional passage to adulthood during a celebration whereby each girl undergoes female genital mutilation (FGM).

 

Shortly after, I was married to a young man whose parents became increasingly negative about our union for the fact that we were both very young. At one point, he was sent back to school and I was left alone at home with 3 small children, all girls. First I thought I could manage but the job was too hard on me so after a while I decided to go back to my parents even though I knew there would be little support from their side. At least, I had more peace of mind.

 

FGM has been a traumatic experience which impacted on me and my children. I often felt rejected, stigmatized and isolated by others of my age or my former schoolmates. We didn´t have always food, we couldn´t afford clothes and during the most critical times we had no place to stay.

 

My sister Gladys called me when she started Tareto Maa, to assist her with her new project. I liked the idea to be working to help other children escape the devastating consequences caused by FGM and forced marriage. Today, I am very happy to be working for Tareto Maa and to see that my children have enough food, a home, clothes and most important for us Maasai that they are going to school.

 

Tareto Maa is a blessing for our community. More than ever, I want to continue protecting the new generation of young girls from FGM and see that what was done to me will finally cease. It is through education that we can bring FGM to an end. For this, I dedicate all my time and energy.

 

I take this opportunity to thank Gladys enormously for giving me the chance to

work for Tareto Maa and also all the sponsors from all over the world who are

supporting this wonderful project.

Helen, the day before FGM
Helen, the day before FGM
Apr 10, 2015

What the visitors said about Tareto Maa

In our previous report we mentioned that Tareto Maa was having so many visitors as never before, and we promised to publish photos and testimonials of the visits. Here we go. :-)

Tareto Maa is very grateful to have received health services and education from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) students who visited Tareto Maa.

These are the testimonials from the UNR students sharing thoughts on their visit to Tareto Maa.

  • “The work being done by the leaders of Tareto Maa is really inspiring. To see a group of such amazing girls with the highest of spirits together, I would have never known they were rescued from child marriage or FGM. That alone shows Tareto Maa is doing a great job sheltering, empowering, and teaching all of the girls.” – Michael Stern
  • “Each of their (the girls’) stories is an inspiration to me and I will forever hold this experience close to my heart.” – Alyssa Workman
  • “Tareto Maa is filled with love and happiness. I have never seen so many beautiful smiles or felt more welcome. To be honest, I wish I had never left.” – Austin Porsborg
  • “My time at Tareto Maa will always remain a part of me, as it has shown me happiness in its simplest form. Despite the existence of struggle the girls have overcome the hardships of their environment and find true joy in life.” – Rachel Waddington
  • “There may be a lot of hurt in these girls’ lives, but there is also a lot of hope. The fact that Tareto Maa even exists is a blessing.” – Kellan Douglas
  • “My stay at Tareto Maa was an experience of a lifetime. In the morning we were woken up by the songs as the girls made their way to the kitchen after the cooks rang the bell. During the hot afternoons we lounged under the shade of trees and talked about anything that came up. Many of them were very excited to be going back to school and they all had high hopes to complete it.” – Helen See

 

We would like to thank

- Professor Gerold Dermid Gray and to the entire crew of UNR for visiting and supporting Tareto Maa!

- Think Kindness for their generous donation of 200 shoes for the girls at Tareto Maa!

- Happy Feet in Tampa Bay for over 50 soccer balls!

Rachel Waddington
Rachel Waddington
Katie Ferguson and Michael Stern
Katie Ferguson and Michael Stern
Alyssa Workman
Alyssa Workman
Kellan Douglas
Kellan Douglas
Helen See
Helen See
Austin Porsborg
Austin Porsborg
Jan 12, 2015

Holiday Season at Tareto Maa - Health Services and Education

Tareto Maa Center, Kenya
Tareto Maa Center, Kenya

Never before Tareto Maa had so many visitors as in the previous days! The University of Nevada in Reno (UNR) is supporting us, and a Professor of UNR’s Public Health Course and 12 of his students visited Tareto Maa after Christmas. They brought presents for the children (first and foremost: shoes for school), celebrated New Year’s Eve together with the girls, and provided health services and education to Tareto Maa. The president of Tareto Maa USA, Jackie Adams, was granted a fellowship by UNR to help lead the students on this course to Kenya. Tareto Maa is very grateful for this cooperation with the UNR and looks forward to working together for the well-being of the girls in the Tareto Maa Refuge. (We will publish photos and testimonials of the visitors as soon as we received them.)

In the last three months there were some more good news to be celebrated.

Dining Hall completed – Tareto Maa’s first motorized member – A launch party in Cleveland

The Dining Hall stands complete now. Despite delays due to heavy rainfall from September to November, the floors of the dining hall are now finished. The dining hall is a great improvement for the refuge’s infrastructure. Many thanks to the Kenyan team for overseeing this construction!

Furthermore we welcomed the first motorized member of the Tareto Maa community: a motorcycle. A supporter from Germany (who also provided us with bicycles last year) fundraised for this together with family and friends in Berlin. The new motorcycle allows us to transport supplies and, when needed, make sure our girls have quick access to healthcare facilities.

Last not least, Tareto Maa USA celebrated its tax exemption status by throwing a Launch Party at Dante’s Next Door in Cleveland, Ohio. The party included a fundraiser to support the children of Tareto Maa.

A successful Christmas campaign to support the newest members of the Tareto Maa Center

In the course of 2014, an additional 22 girls took refuge at Tareto Maa. Most of the newest members of our community are orphans who were severely malnourished and had dropped out of school. To meet the challenge of financing the education of our newest members, we asked our supporters for help. In our December campaign, we raised 6,000 Euro / $7,500 to fund the education of our girls. Once again, the Tareto Maa community has risen to meet the challenges of running a refuge!

A nice view – Welcome to the neighborhood of Tareto Maa

Very often people assume that nearly all land in East Africa is aridly and dry. But the area in which Tareto Maa is located is very green! To show how Tareto Maa’s environment looks like we published a video which was taken after a walk with the girls to the top of nearby Mount Pirrar: www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1sSUzNsa5M&feature=youtu.be  

Isn’t it a beautiful rural countryside? :-)

 

We wish a happy New Year to everyone!

Thank you for your support in 2014.

We would be very happy if you accompany us also on our path in 2015.

Completing the dining hall
Completing the dining hall
Completing the dining hall
Completing the dining hall
Our new motorcycle
Our new motorcycle

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