"Despite the condemnation of FGM, internationally often seen as a violation of a woman’s rights, the Pokot community have continued to embrace this ritual whose long-term physiological effects include septicaemia, genital malformation and even death."
This is an excerpt from an article published in the Standard Digital, June 6, 2013. The full article entitled,
"Going under the knife destroyed innocent young student’s life", is here, http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000085346&story_title=going-under-the-knife-destroyed-innocent-young-student-s-life&pageNo=4Though outlawed long ago, the traditional tribes continue this ritual. Isolation, lack of education, love of culture all contribute to the persistence of these harmful practices. Leadership from within is rising. Women are receiving educaiton and returning to their tribes to lead and educate.Expanding Opportunities seeks to assist these leaders to eradicate these harmful practices with education and sensitivithy to culture.
MEET Elisa : Elisa is a new teen in her last year of primary school. Her mother died leaving her father with the four girls and three boys. It is the Samburu tradition to perform FGM and marry girls young which ends their formal education.
With the help of sponsors, the father will allow his girls to receive education before marriage. Elisa is in the top ten of her class. Because of her sponsor, for the last three years, Elisa has been able to stay in school. Her sponsor is forced to end her sponsorship at the end of 2013. We trust that a donor will step forward and continue her sponsorship.
Dela has a mother and father who are migratory pastoralists. They are landless and live on less than $1.00 per day and are not able to pay for their children to attend school. The family is of the Samburu tribe and live about 15 kilometers from the closest school.
Dela has two brothers and one sister. The Samburu tradition is not to educate their daughters but to marry them in their early teens.
When Dela was 10 years old she voluntarily came to school. After one week her father came, took her home and brought a boy in exchange. The headmaster persisted with discussions and finally the family agreed that Dela may go to school but the school must pay the fees. The headmaster began looking for funds to assist Dela with her fees. The Catholic Church sponsors the boarding facilities but desires a family contribution. Expanding Opportunities is supporting that contribution for Dela.
Though Dela does not have an individual sponsor, the funds raised through Global Giving assist with her sponsorship.
The Girl’s Rescue Center: This center was first conceived in 2009 as a meeting of stakeholders led to the formation of the CBO POWER and the commitment by the Turkana community in Ariemet to donate the land. A grant form the UN Slavery Fund was granted and construction began in October or 2012. Though there have been many challenges, people, water, transportation, the river rising…
One day, two young ladies arrived. They quietly sat under a bush until the work day was closing and they approached to tell us the story of Irene. So now Irene is in a temporary situation and is the first girl to be served by the new center,
Today the windows and doors were installed! Pictures in the next update.
This center will assist the project to provide safety and education to pastoralist girls in the Isiolo area. We are so excited to finally be taking this major step in preventing girls from FGM and early forced marriage and providing a safe place for them to find education.
According to the World Bank, Educating girls brings the highest return on investment of any in the developing world!
This project is now in the GIRL EFFECT CHALLENGE until the end of November. Your donation of any amount will help push us to the top. It is the number of donors and the total amount that will help us get to the top 12 and help us EDUCATE GIRLS!!
The three pronged approach Expanding Opportunities has taken for the pastoralist girl child is moving forward. We currently are sponsoring five girls in boarding primary school. The girls who run away from FGM or Early Forced Marriage have often never attended school. Though they can be 10 or 12, they have never been in school. The needs of these girls are different; they are much older than their classmates. We carefully select schools that are able to integrate these older learners.
Let me briefly update you about two of “our girls”.
Dini was rescued in March of 2011. The community had been told she was "available for marriage" at age 11. A bright and lively girl she is enjoying her adventure in Education. She had never held a pencil, nor knew a word of Kiswahili or English. Now she is able to communicate in three languages and is performing very well in her class. She has a sponsor in Maine.
Juliza is a 9 year old girl who is currently in Class One as she had never attended school until the beginning of 2012. She was engaged to be married and ran away to the school. As the laws of Kenya forbid marriage before the age of 18, she is in school and boarding at Kipsing Academy. A Girl Scout Troop is sponsoring her for one year which will end in April of 2013. Her sponsorship after April will be dependent upon donors giving to our general girl child education prong of the project until she has another sponsor
Soon we will begin construction of a Girl's Rescue Center in Ariemet, Kenya. come along and join us in the effort.
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