Rescue Maasai Girls from Female Genital Mutilation

 
$23,305
$4,695
Raised
Remaining
Photo 1
Photo 1

Thank you for your donations!

We are pleased to report that all of the Maasai 72 remain under the protection of our program.

We have attached an oversight report below so that you can see how we track this project. Our early warning safety net is working. We continue to receive word whenever a Maasai girl is threatened so we are able to take quick action

This report is divided up in three parts.

I. The story of Mary K. Each of the girls we support is a unique and brave girl with a story of her own.

II. Global Roots Declares War Against FGM…included here is our five year plan to end Female Genital Mutilation among the Maasai.

III. Oversight Report.

IV. Early Warning Safety Net.

V. Donation tracking. Read the correspondence between a major Global Roots donor and our Nairobi-based transparency officer, "AK".

VI. Portrait of a Maasai girl by Paige Hval.

Part 1. Mary K. — the second Maasai girl taken in by Carole in 2009. (see photo 1) Mary’s story is told in its entirety below. Funds collected at Global Giving this year will help pay for the boarding school fees of 72 Maasai school girls and the cost of college for the first four graduates of the Maasai 72, including Mary.

We believe that Mary K. will become a leader in the fight to end FGM among the Maasai for all time.

Mary was just 12 when she ran away from home but she knew she had the legal right to attend primary school and that both forced marriage and female genital mutilation are against the law in Kenya.

On the night of her cutting and imminent marriage to man four times her age, Mary ran out of her minyatta and across the Maasai Mara to see the protection of Carole N., a brave Maasai mother of three who risked her own life to create a rescue center for “the Maasai 72”. Globalroots.org remains the only international charity supporting Carole in her work.

The story of Mary K. — YOU WILL FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING IN THE 21ST CENTURY.

Mary K., age 17 and in her senior year of high school, is from a typical Maasai family, where her father is polygamous with at least 5 wives and a total of 34 children.

Unlike her brothers, Mary K. and two of her sisters were denied an opportunity to continue with their schooling after primary school. The reason? According to Maasai tradition their main duty was to be married off so as to bring further wealth and honor to the family. Education was not considered a priority for these soon-to-be brides. In fact, in the case of Mary, it was already clear she knew too much.

Around this time Mary learned of the activities of Caroline N., a fearless and strong-willed campaigner for the rights of Maasai girls. Caroline happened to be at her local police station a few months earlier when the officer on duty refused to protect another Maasai girl (the first of the Maasai 72) from the threat of FGM. When Carole (an FMG survivor who had refused to let her two daughters suffer the same archaic surgery by razor blade) took the girl into her arms, a thug from the girls tribe beat her.

Carole did not budge. As she was being beaten, she screamed threats at the officer on duty. FGM is a crime in Kenya and the UN considers to be one of the top Human Rights Crimes committed against women in the world.

The officer buckled and gave custody of the girl to Caroline. Word of Caroline’s heroics (and heresy among most Maasai males) spread across the savannah like a giant grass fire.

Mary left her home in the cover of darkness on an epic journey to find Caroline. She wandered across the savannah grassland of the Maasai Mara to a small village where one of the locals happened to know the name of the village where Carole was from.

Mary continued to walk. She did not have shoes. She walked 26 miles until she entered the safety of Caroline’s compound. Three years later, Caroline confided in out ED that she could not turn Mary away.

“I had already taken in two girls and I didn’t know how I could feed them. But there was something in Mary’s eyes that changed my mind.”

Caroline took Mary under her wing at her budding rescue center.

The same year Mary’s elder sister Naomi also managed to escape an attempt to forcibly marry her off, sustaining a serious injury to her foot in the process. Caroline took her in, too. Unfortunately, due to the injury and successive bouts of ill health, Naomi was unable to attend school on a regular basis and ended up dropping two classes behind Mary.

Last year yet another of Mary’s sisters, Elizabeth, who had been taken out of school so as to look after the family’s livestock, was also taken in by the rescue center.

It will be four years since Mary joined Caroline’s home and this year she will sit for her final high school exams. During her time at school she has excelled in both academic and extracurricular activities and she was even appointed “captain of games” games. She is an avid runner and soccer player. Nothing could be more Nike or Mia Hamm than this!

Her favorite subjects include foreign languages, history and “Christianity”. Mary believes that nothing but God could have protected her during her epic plight. 

Mary’s ambition is to become a lawyer so as to ably defend the rights of Maasai women and girls.

The attached portrait was painted by a 16 year old artist Paige H. The painting attracted the interest of the Nike Foundation and 100% of the funds given to the program by Nike went to pay school costs for Mary.  Paige has since painted another

Part II. Global Roots Declares War Against FGM

“War” is a strong word but we feel strongly that it is time to take a different course of action if we truly want to enable our Maasai partners to end FGM among Maasai.

We have come to believe that this human rights crime can’t be stopped without legal enforcement.

The UN and the government of Kenya have declared FGM a crime against humanity that should be punishable by a prison sentence.

If this is true, then why did the chief of a Maasai village agree to meet with a Global Roots film crew to publicly speak out in support of FGM and why did he so readily introduce us to the woman who does the cutting in his village? You can watch this interview in our short film on the subject.

Many authorities claim that FGM has gone into hiding and that it can’t be stopped for this reason. This is not true. FGM is simply not enforced.

Alas, our local hero Carole N. threatened to turn a police officer over to justice when he refused to protect the first of the Maasai 72 in 2009.

We learned from this incident that we have the ear of the local police.

We are now strengthening our ties with local police chiefs and the few Maasai leaders who have sent threatened girls into police protection. As you may or may not know from reading past project reports, the police have been calling the woman we support (Carole Nangeya) for help and she has now taken in 72 girls.

Global Roots does not take girls from their homes. These girls run away on their own at 12 years old when they learn their human rights are about to be violated.

We have formed a union with more than 16 schoolmasters who want to end FGM among the Maasai.

Thank you for your support! Your donations have helped us to keep each of the Maasai 72 protected.

Here is our five year plan to end this archaic tradition once and for all.

Desired outcome: end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among the Maasai in five years.

Kenyan partners: Carole N. (Maasai mother, FGM survivor, protector of 72 threatened Maasai), Anthony K, Global Roots Transparency Officer (former photographer for Transparency International), Lucy O, manager, Global Roots Kenya, Kenyan School Masters and Regional Police chiefs. Admin support: Global Roots USA.

Strategy: build on past success (72 girls protected from FGM across the Maasai Mara and TransMara regions) by creating “Girls Gardens” at 16 Maasai Elementary Schools. Our garden program will protect an estimated 1,600 Maasai girls from FGM and it will become the talk of Kenya and neighboring Tanzania. A dance troupe composed of 20 of the Maasai 72 will travel from village to village spreading the message “Say no to FGM because the law is with you”. The play heralds the benefits to any Maasai family that opts to not cut their daughters and the prison sentence that awaits those who do.

Key to Success: we have already proven that school masters will partner with us. It’s in their interest to keep Maasai girls in school. Maasai girls outperform other students so they raise the bar of literacy thus keeping the school masters employed. Why do Maasai girls do so well? It’s simple: they all know a life of slavery awaits them if they drop out of school. Few young girls understand the physical implications of FGM. They just know that staying in school is the only way to become a self actualized and powerful woman.

Measurement data: we will create a tracking system for each Maasai school in the program with monthly checks. A Global Roots surveillance team (led by GR Kenyan officers in conjunction with provincial police will investigate the disappearance of any girl. All parents who violate the agreement will be arrested and jailed. FGM is illegal in Kenya and it is considered a human rights crime by the UN. Our program finances the muscle of enforcement that does not currently exist in Kenya.

How our program works: Maasai parents will rush to enter their daughters into our food program in order to receive a weekly supply of vegetables for the family kitchen. Our vegetables will be grown in drip-system greenhouses behind each participating school. We have already proven that our greenhouses (large white structures) keep elephants and other big game way. No elephant has ever come within 50 meters of our current vegetable gardens in southeastern Kenya. The threat of elephant attack, crop trampling and water source destruction is the main reason the Maasai people’s current diet is incomplete.

The media will be informed whenever a Maasai family breaks from the program to cut a child. The parents will go to jail and the saved girl will join the girls we are already protecting.

Part III. Oversight Report — from our transparency officer on the ground in Kenya.

“I paid the US$ 1,700 to two more schools hosting our girls. 67% of the funds went to Christ The King Academy, where most of the girls school. The priest who was previously in overall charge has been transferred to another diocese. Carole had a very good relationship him and he was flexible regarding the payment of fees. The new headmistress is far less charitable so I was relieved that the funds arrived in time!

Olo Piki Dongoe primary school is in Transmara and they got the balance of the funds. The Kenya shilling has depreciated to Kshs. 88 to the dollar, so we are managing to get the money to stretch a little more.

Needless to say Carole was greatly relieved as some of the pressure on her has reduced. Once again she asked me to pass on her most profuse thanks. Her current game plan is to appeal for funding from some of the Maasai group ranches, while also continuing to apply for bursaries from the local government.

Regards

Anthony K.

Part IV Early Warning Safety Net — AK sent the following email to the USA headquarters.

I received a call from Carole this morning. She has desperately been looking for money to pay the fees for the 7 girls joining high school this year. She says her payments from the garbage collection contract have been delayed yet again. She has only been able to raise enough for the back to school shopping, wash basins, towels, toiletries etc.

As the girls who are the only ones left at home right now are getting restless and will probably lose their places anyway in the schools they had selected, she proposed calling the headmistress at Enoosaen, to request her to accept the girls, with the promise that their fees will be forwarded in due time.

She had misplaced the headmistresses number and requested me to give it to her.

After a while she called back and confirmed that the headmistress had agreed to take in the 7 girls. As GR has established an element of trust with the headmistress, Carole was able to convince her that the financial commitment would be honored.

Carole had earlier suggested that she take a soft loan from her friends to pay for the fees. She has done it before and it entails her repaying the cash with interest. I advised her not to take up that option until I had consulted with you. It would have been rather tricky to account for the funds in this manner.

I am glad that she finally decided on the Enoosaen school option.

Regards

Anthony K.

Hi. I paid the fees for Carole's as soon as I received the cash last week.  Carole was very relieved and appreciative. She asked me to inform you that as she can't reward you materially, her and the girls have placed you in their prayers. This is includes all of the donors at Global Giving.

As instructed I am still holding on to the balance of US$ 500 in case of any emergency.

Regards

Anthony K

Part V. Donation Tracking. See photo 2.

Whenever we receive a major donation for the Maaasai 72, we send proof that we actually spent donated funds on target.

All donations made to Global Giving automatically receive quarterly updates.

Hi Natalie,

Attached please receive a copy of the bank deposit slip for the Kenya shillings equivalent of US$ 1,200 paid into the school account of Enosaen Girls Secondary School.

This payment includes your donation of US$ 1,000 to Global Roots and is part of the US$ 1,700 forwarded by Global Roots for payment to the various schools the rescue girls attend.  

In the bottom third of the deposit slip are the names of the 7 girls for whom this payment will go towards paying school fees for.

Your contribution is highly appreciated.

With thanks and kindest regards,

Anthony K.

Reply from donor:

Hi Anthony,

Thank you so much for showing me the receipt for school fees. It is so important to see that donations made go directly to supporting these girls. 

I visited the Maasai Mara 2 years ago and hope to return one day. 

Thank you for helping Carol and the girls through your work. 

Best wishes,

Natalie

Part VI Portrait of a Maasai girl by Paige H. (see photo 3)

This amazing portrait prompted a prominent American business person to donate 10K to our efforts.

The artist, 17-year-old Paige Hval of Portland, Oregon, is at it again. Her next masterpiece will surely raise ever more funds that will be used to protect the Maasai 72 from Female Genital Mutilation. Thank you Paige!

 

Photo 2
Photo 2
photo 3
photo 3

Links:

two of the Maasai girls we help protect
two of the Maasai girls we help protect

Maasai 72 Protecting 72 girls from female genital mutilation, forced marriage and illegal removal from elementary school

Our warning net is working! Recently, we learned that seven of the girls that we protect from female genital mutilation were suddenly and unexpectedly sent home from their boarding school.

It turns out that a new schoolmaster had taken over and he had decided that any child in his new school who had debt should be sent home.

This wasn't a problem for the girls who come from good families. They could simply go home and wait for their parents to raise the funds needed for them to go back  to school.

The problem for our seven girls (7 of the Maasai 72) is that they have no home to return to. If they were to go to their birth home, they would be immediately mutilated and sold into slavery.

Fortunately, we were prepared. We we now have eyes in years at all of the boarding schools where our girls attend. When the new schoolmaster kicked our girls out (against our agreement with a previous schoolmaster), we received word immediately. We sent up our transparency manager to intercept the girls, pay boarding school fees and our girls were allowed to remain in school

This all happened because of the excellent excellent communication between our executive director in the USA (Rick) and our Transparency Manager in Kenya (Anthony).

Anthony emailed Rick when he received word of the expulsions and Rick wired GR funds immediately. Anthony had the funds in four days and he was able to negotiate the return of the girls to school before any of them were sent home and mutilated.

New Dormitory Construction on our new dormitory for the girls is so behind that we had to look for a short-term option.Just last week (November 15th) we negotiated with another dormitory to take the girls in when they return to Carole’s from boarding school next month. As you may or may not know, Carole’s home was appropriately condemned by Kenya’s Health Authority. We use the word “appropriately” because we agree that her little house is not large enough to take in 72 Maasai runaways when they are home for two months a year from boarding school.

Attached are pictures of the dormitory facility we will use next month. It is located 100 meters from the entrance to Carole's compound and has a secure gate and fence. The priest who manages it confirmed that the rental fee is US$ 250 and will include the services of a matron who lives on the premises. The matron also cooks for the girls and as she also operates a shop from the building she is present all the time to monitor the girls.

The grounds are spacious and the girls would have plenty of room to relax and study.

Conclusion: thanks to our generous donors at Global Giving, all 72 girls in our protection program are currently in school and all payments for boarding school fees are current.

The future: four of our girls graduate from high school this year so we have started to look for individual donors who will sponsor each of the girls.

A permanent rescue center: we have started to seek a corporate sponsor or family foundation that will finance the acquisition of our own rescue center for the girls. Stay tuned!

Mary Keruta achieves highest marks We are so proud of Mary for becoming the leader of her school! Mary is the second girl to run to the police for protection from Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage back in 2009 and the second to arrive at Carole’s home. That Mary was able to soar so high academically is proof that our program is working!!!

Without our help Mary would have been sold into slavery long ago. Now she will know what it feels like to be an educated and self actualized woman. Way to go Mary!!!

Oversight Mission and Clothing and supply delivery. Attached are a few photos of our clothing delivery (thank you St. Thomas School in Medina WA) and Global Giving donors.

Thank you all for your help!

clothing distribution
clothing distribution
new dormitory is ready
new dormitory is ready
new dormitory from the outside
new dormitory from the outside
Mary Keruta wins top school honors
Mary Keruta wins top school honors

We are pleased to report that a State-funded dormitory is almost completed near Carole’s current rescue center in Kilgoris, Transmara, Kenya. See photos below.

Thank you for your support. You have just helped us save the lives of 72 innocent Maasai girls!

As you may or may not have read from past reports, Carole’s current rescue center was deemed unsuitable to house so many girls last August. Fortunately we had an oversight team on site when the eviction notice arrived. Our director immediately took the matter to the Kenyan Senate.

Without the new dormitory, Kenyan health authorities would have forced Carole to send home all 72 girls where they would suffer female genital mutilation and forced marriage at age 13.

Carole’s girls will sleep in the new dormitory when they are home from boarding school.

We are headed down to Kenya next month to collaborate with the Norfolk Hotel of Nairobi (a Fairmont property), on another delivery of supplies to Carole’s girls. Last August the Norfolk donated bedding and clothing to the girls and Norfolk employees purchased and delivered a one year’s supply of Maxi Thins. (See photos below).

During our visit to Kilogoris we will analyze the route between Carole’s rescue center and the new dormitory for any potential security risk. We will install a safety tower and hire a security guard if one is needed. The route between Carole’s rescue center (where the girls will eat) and the dormitory must be a safe one.

We are currently raising funds for a study tent that can be utilized by Carole’s girls when they return for their breaks from boarding school. Currently the girls mill around doing nothing during their two months off. A study tent with a large work table and solar lighting will help maximize this free time. If funding allows it, we will finance the services of a tutor to create study programs for the girls.

Transparency Report from A.K., Global Roots Lead Transparency Officer in Kenya.

The girls we support at Carole’s rescue center are spread out in different schools, some owned and managed privately, others by local education boards and yet others by religious institutions or church missions, their fee structures differ.

Some schools charge almost double what the other schools demand in terms of school fees.

Carole's solution has been to calculate an average figure to represent the amount of schools fees due for each girl and then quote a lump sum based on this calculation.

This is a very awkward system to manage and it has led to lots of headaches for our transparency officers in Kenya.

We have therefore requested Carole to obtain the fee structure from each and every school, so that we can compile a more accurate data base. We were informed recently by Carole that she does have a fee structure for many of the schools, so the exercise shouldn't take to long.

The next step will be to ask her to list the names of all the girls and the respective schools they attend. This way we should have a more accurate and transparent means to calculate her funding needs.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for your ongoing support of Carole’s girls!!!!

We must now raise funds for boarding school fees in the fall. That's 72 girls X $500. Lots of work to be done.

We are also raising funds to create a Maasai Girl's Garden -- a sustainable way to protect more Maasai girls from abduction from school. Female Genital Mutilation and forced marriage.

many of Carole
many of Carole's Maasai 72
two GR teams have met with Carole (center)
two GR teams have met with Carole (center)

We are happy to report program success! All of the Maasai 72 are protected and in school.

Here is a letter of thanks from Carole, the local humanitarian we support. 

APPRECIATION TO GLOBAL ROOTS!

Hello and happy New Year!

I want to express my sincere gratitude to Global Roots for your generosity. I really appreciate your kindness and immense support you have given me towards the girl child education and the stopping of FGM. The girls have found peace of mind and psychological stability. Through your support, girls have food, clothing, bedding and most importantly school fees. Together with Cindy, we are very grateful to see girls going to school who otherwise would have vanished in early marriages and barbaric practices of FGM. I was very happy to see teams from Global Roots our home and to know the actual challenges we are facing. - thanks so much!

We had difficulties in paying school fees, food, and clothing. But through direct Global Roots aid, the lives of our girls have been greatly uplifted.

Finally, let's appreciate the entire global roots- the founders, the staff, the partners and their families for the great job they are doing for the needy in general and to Naserian in particular. Thanks so much and may God bless you abundantly!

Carole

Program update:

We visited Carole's rescue center twice this year to deliver food, clothing, bedding and a year's worth of female hygiene products (Maxi thin pads -- thanks Fairmont Hotels!) to Carole's girls. Most importantly, we helped to pay thousands of dollars worth of boarding school fees.

Side project:

During our last visit to Carole's home we hired a young man named Kip who runs a very small internet cafe in Kilgoris to visit Carole's home once a week so that her girls can Skype with girls their age or a little older in the USA. There are clubs sprouting up across the USA to support Carole including one in Portland, OR (Lincoln High school), a prep school in Baltimore and a college chapter at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Project data:

Global Roots remains the only outside support for Carole's 72 Maasai girls.

There are 49 girls going to boarding school and 23 going to local public schools. Our transparency manager Anthony Kigondu will deliver the funds in two weeks that will make it possible for all girls to attend boarding school immediately. 23 girls currently attend day school and sleep every night in Carole's small home.

We don't like the idea of any girl going to day school because of the danger of walking there unescorted on a daily basis. Furthermore, Carole's home isn't large enough to sleep so many girls.

The girls are currently attending Christ the King Academy, Shartuka Girls Secondary, Enoosaen Girls Secondary, Kilgoris Girls Secondary and Sosio Secondary School. 

Anthony Kigondu is preparing a detailed report that will give us a full biographical sketch on the life of each girl -- where she goes to school, her debt there and when the next boarding school fees are due.

Oversight and transparency trip:

Global Roots transparency officer Anthony Kigondu is scheduled to conduct an oversight visit to Carole's home in two weeks. Traveling with Anthony is Lucy Odhiambo, Global Roots human resources manager, Kenya. 

While Anthony studies Carole's books Lucy will sit down with each of the Maasai 72 to ask several important questions. The most important questions: are you currently going to school, what is the name of it and how long have you been going there. Lucy will also compile a personal history about each of the girl that we support so that we are dealing with names and personalities -- not just numbers.

Anthony and Lucy's report will help prove that all documentation received from Carole's camp (including 49 copies of boarding school fees -- see attached) is for real.

The future

As Carole's only outside support, we must continue to raise funds for Carole's girls. Fortunately, a dormitory is under construction and beds will be given to Carole's girls when they are home from boarding school. We are monitoriing the constructon of the dormitory. 

Global Roots is busy setting up a scholarship program for the Maasai 72. The first girl who ran away from home to protect herself from forced marriage and Female Genital Mutilation is about to graduate high school and has no funds for college. Please see Ann (she is holding the muppet) in the group shot. Ann is the leader of the Maasai 72. Without her, none of the others would have found a home!

Ann is one of the bravest girls in the world.

Tatjana (GR volunteer) and Mary K.
Tatjana (GR volunteer) and Mary K.
group shot taken during our last oversight trip
group shot taken during our last oversight trip

Attachments:
Our founder with the Maasai 72
Our founder with the Maasai 72

Global Roots founder Rick Montgomery visited Carole Nangeya's FGM rescue center in Kilgoris in August with the intention of erecting a 5K greenhouse with Global Roots construction manager Jared Busi. 

Upon arrival, Rick handed out clothing to Carole's girls (donated by Saint Thomas elementary in Medina, WA) and he also sat down to make the Global Roots quarterly donation to the boarding school costs of Carole's 72 girls.

In the process of performing typical Global Roots due diligence, Rick learned that Kenyan healthy authorities had deemed that Carole's home is too small to house so many girls. Rick immediately paid a visit to another, much larger house that can be used for the project. The problem with the new home is that is lacks a security fence to protect the girls from local threats.

Rick paced the property with Jared and the two hammered out a refurbishment plan that will turn the new house into a perfect rescue center for the girls by December.

Rick then returned to the USA to start raising funds for a much larger project. We have decided to focus on raising funds for the security fence first so that the girls will at least have a safe place to go when their current home is closed in December. Once the fence is financed, we will start with a simple refurbishment of the home (15K), the construction of a 20 bunk sleeping dorm, and then we will begin with our usuall "sustainabilty projects" -- a water well, greenhouse and hen house.

Rick is returning to Kenya to meet with the Permanent Secretary of Education in Nairobi as well as a senator from Carole's area. School fees remain a major cost that also must be covered. We are hoping that Rick will secure a scholarship from the Kenyan government for all 72 girls. Another option is to seek funding for a school of their own.

These are "the Maasai 72" and we will not give up on them! Please donate whatever you can. We will send you quarterly updates on the project. Note: it would cost just $500 for you to sponsor one of our Maasai 72 for a year! We will introduce you to your girl and you can keep in touch with her as she goes through school!

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Organization

Global Roots

Portland, OR, United States
http://www.globalroots.org

Project Leader

Rick Montgomery

Seattle, WA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Rescue Maasai Girls from Female Genital Mutilation