Celebrations – Our first volunteer – Construction of the dining hall
Tareto Maa welcomed its first external volunteer: Nate Demers from Michigan. He arrived at Tareto Maa early in April, and the first thing he had to do was: to celebrate! On April 9, 2014, we celebrated Tareto Maa’s 5 Year Anniversary. Five years ago Gladys Kiranto started to shelter orphans from the local community and girls escaping FGM. In the beginning, 7 children were sheltered in the houses of Gladys and her family and friends. Five years later, the Tareto Maa Girls’ Refuge provides for the needs and the well-being of 106 children who have sought out our assistance.
To celebrate this anniversary, the Tareto Maa teams in the USA, Germany and Austria sent a thank-you letter and small personal presents for each team member in Kenya. The presents were manually recharging “dynamo flashlights” (a hot commodity in a village without power).
On the occasion of the anniversary, Philippe and Fynn from Austria started a charity run at the Vienna City Marathon. Thanks to many supporters’ contributions they raised around $2,500 which will be used to pay for the school fees of six girls.
After the anniversary celebrations, it was time for our first volunteer, Nate, to share his practical skills and to join some hard works. The construction of the dining hall started! This building is one of the major projects at Tareto Maa this year. We are happy and proud that this project successfully started, and after 3 months it is nearly completed now. At the moment, we are building the roof.
A current food crisis
While we mastered one challenge with building the dining hall, unfortunately another huge challenge emerged. It saddens us to report that the corn crops in the community of Kilgoris, Kenya were once again destroyed this season by a plant disease (a viral infection named “Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease”). After last year’s destruction, we thought we had the problem resolved via a harvest of a new breed of corn. Now, we see this was not a final solution. Tareto Maa leaders are reaching out to agricultural experts to gain insight on possible causes of this issue. Subsidiary farming is how we help mediate our expenses and losing our entire crop is a great loss. Due to the support of many people worldwide we were able to buy food for the children now to provide sufficient meals in the months to come. However, this food crisis is a severe setback for Tareto Maa, and any support to buy further food would be greatly appreciated.
Send us your pics – A Photobook of the Tareto Maa Community
We are creating a photobook to “introduce” the members of the Tareto Maa community to the girls of the Rescue Center. When the presidents of the Tareto Maa groups from the USA, Germany and Austria will meet in Kenya this August, they want to hand over the booklet to the children.
Please send pictures of yourself (at work, with your family, with your favorite pet, lounging at home or partaking in your favorite hobby) along with a brief description to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, July 22.
The year 2014 started with great news! During the “circumcision season” in December, no girls sought shelter at Tareto Maa to escape female genital mutilation (FGM). Though we do not know whether FGM in the area is completely eradicated, this evidence suggests a rapid decrease in the number of mutilations occurring in Kilgoris, Kenya. This is a huge success, and we are very positive that Tareto Maa has contributed to this important social change.
But there were even more good news. As many of the local families have abandoned FGM, Gladys Kiranto and the Pastor met with the families of 18 girls who were at the Tareto Maa Refuge. It was determined that those girls could now safely return home. Their parents have promised not to force mutilation or marriage. The Pastor will check in with the families to verify the girls are safe and continuing to attend school.
This is the first time that girls who had fled to Tareto Maa were able to return home. We are really happy for these girls and about this progress in general.
However, the work of Tareto Maa won’t stop here. We will continue in our pledge to aid the vulnerable children of Kilgoris. Most of all, there are many abandoned orphans who came to Tareto Maa and asked for shelter. To help these children is a pressing task.
Time to celebrate: Tareto Maa’s 5th anniversary
On April 9, 2009, Gladys Kiranto and some of her friends and relatives founded and registered Tareto Maa. That means: it’s time to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Tareto Maa!
We created a special “anniversary logo” which we will post during the month of April in honor of all people who supported Tareto Maa in the past 5 years.
Furthermore, we celebrated Tareto Maa’s anniversary with a charity run: at the Vienna half marathon! By this means we raised funds to sponsor the education of girls in the Tareto Maa Refuge. (See: www.tareto-maa.org/celebrating-our-anniversary-with-a-charity-run.) Besides, of course, we prepared personal presents for the team members in Kenya.
But there is another anniversary to be celebrated! One year ago, Jackie Adams joint our team and started to found the Tareto Maa group in the USA. In a very personal article, Jackie shared how deciding this has had an impact on her life: www.tareto-maa.org/one-year-later-changing-my-life-while-working-for-change/
(By the way, in honor of her efforts to help abolish FGM in Kilgoris Jackie was recognized in March 2014 as one of the top 25 Movers and Shakers under 35 in Northeast Ohio!)
Annual Report 2013, and our tasks for the months ahead
Tareto Maa has published its 2013 Annual Report which includes factual and financial information about all our projects and also a comprehensive photo timeline of this past year’s activities: www.tareto-maa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Tareto-Maa_Annual_Report-2013.pdf
Now it is time for us to look ahead and face the most important challenges for the next months. We now have 106 girls at the center and with more girls moving on to secondary education the costs are still increasing. Further challenges for 2014 will be to build a dining hall for the refuge and to establish a training and farming center. This training center shall improve the job prospects of the youth in the refuge and the community and shall help to increase food supply.
We would be happy if you accompany us on this path, and we appreciate your help.
In November 2013, an official Tareto Maa group was registered in Austria. The Austrian group will help to find financial support for the children of Tareto Maa and to raise awareness about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). In addition to that, the group’s main goal is to extend and deepen the network with organisations and other partners.
Also the Tareto Maa group in the USA reached another important milestone: The required papers and documents for the IRS (the Internal Revenue Service of the United States federal government) have been completed in the beginning of this month.
A book about Tareto Maa
Tareto Maa has published a book! The book contains 44 pages with photos that Caroline Annandale took at Tareto Maa, and with the stories of the girls why they had to escape to our refuge. The girls themselves picked the name of the book: „Tumaini“. That’s Swahili and means „Hope“.
These are some short links to find the book in the Internet:
English edition (Amazon U.S.): http://amzn.to/17fmEpB
German edition (Amazon Germany): http://amzn.to/1dUD7Es
English edition (Amazon Europe): http://amzn.to/1hIInjH
The Tareto Maa Christmas Choir
In appreciation for all the generous support we’ve received over the past year, Tareto Maa proudly presented its very first Christmas Carol! This video stars a Japanese high school, U.S. families, a choir from Finland, an opera singer in Germany, Tareto Maa board members, lots of supporters, friends and relatives – and even a zebra and an elephant. Many thanks to all who participated in our global choir: http://youtu.be/xhc-GUcotuY
Some more news
We made an improvised eye test for the girls in the Tareto Maa Center. The girls who were having problems with their eyes were sent to an eye doctor in Kisii. Now 9 of the girls in the refuge are wearing glasses.
Members of the German business network BNI donated 1,700 euro for Tareto Maa (= 2,250 USD). Our project manager Rona and three of the children travelled to Nairobi, to receive the symbolic check and to talk with the donors.
A communications agency from Berlin has donated a rain water tank for Tareto Maa as a Christmas present. The tank is containing the rainwater from the roof of the dormitory. The water will be used as drinking water and for farming.
In August, Jackie Adams, the chairwoman of Tareto Maa USA, and Armin Erkens, chairman of the German group, visited the children at Tareto Maa. During their stay, they handed over several gifts and conducted some projects together with the kids.
Jackie published a personal travel report, including many photos of the trip: http://www.tareto-maa.org/my-first-visit-at-tareto-maa/
For instance, a Tareto Maa Library (with official office hours) was opened, as the Tareto Maa Center has received 50 pounds worth of children’s books from the U.S. now, including Dr. Seus and the Bernstein Bears. The girls love spending the afternoon gathering in groups to read aloud together.
The “Buffalo Bikes” which were funded by a donor from Germany and which are tailor-made for roads in rural Africa, also meant great fun for the children. They taught each other how to ride a bike. There were many small accidents and bleeding knees. But the girls just put some band-aid on it, and continued to cycle.
While Jackie and Armin were visiting, some movies were screened: with a projector that was donated by a European company and a white bedsheet on the wall. The girls‘ favorite movie was: Pipi Longstocking. :-)
Together with Jackie, the girls crocheted recycled plastic bags into change purses and made traditional Maasai bracelets (using the colors of the Tareto Maa logo). These items will be sold in the U.S. with half of the proceeds going to support the efforts of Tareto Maa and the other half benefiting a project of the girls’ choice.
During their stay in Kenya, Jackie and Armin also met many people in Nairobi and Transmara to talk about the development of Tareto Maa, and how to cooperate. These talks included the Kenyan Government (Ministry of Agriculture and the department that is in charge of fighting Female Genital Mutilation), the British DFID, the German GIZ, World Vision Kenya, the founder of the SupaMaasai Foundation, and the Kilgoris Project.
Together with the local team, Jackie and Armin also met the District Agricultural Officer in Kilgoris to talk about the current food crisis.
Food crisis: the corn disease has spread all over the country
The plant disease which is destroying the corn/maize harvest has spread all over Kenya by now. The Tareto Maa team is working on long-term solutions to improve food supply. However, the situation will be tough and challenging for the next 2 or 3 years (until resistant seeds might be available).
Tareto Maa successfully completed a fund-raiser to buy food for the next months. Many thanks to all people who supported this task!
In Jackie’s hometown, the regional newspaper, the News Tribune, published a series of articles about Tareto Maa and the work of the U.S. group. See, for instance:
Gifts for the girls
It has been an exciting time at Tareto Maa, as the girls received some lovely presents from donors abroad. As the rainy season made the climate very cold, help arrived by the way of 104 sweaters, donated by a family from our newly formed USA team and its chairwoman. There was also a book delivery and an adventure involving a parcel which started its journey in Canada and was sent by a supply chain across to Kenya with essential supplies for the girls.
Bicycles for the refuge
Jens, a supporter from Germany, completed a great pilot project for Tareto Maa. He conducted a fund-raiser for 6 bikes (plus training of a mechanic, a toolkit and a trailer). The “Buffalo Bikes” which are tailor-made for roads in rural Africa, will enable the children to cycle to far-off schools, and we can use them to bring sick people to the doctor and goods to Tareto Maa.
Victory at a singing competition
Congratulations to the students of our Naitawang Riverside Academy who won an award for singing and dancing (which are highly-prized traditions for the Maasai). They were no. 1 in the Transmara District. Now the next competition will be on Province level.
Houses for the teachers
Thanks to the local community, the teachers of the school have been provided with some temporary shelter. The houses are of basic construction but provide much needed housing for the teachers who were finding it difficult to travel backwards and forwards from their homes to school during the rainy season.
International conference in Tanzania
In June, our project manager Rona attended an international conference in Tanzania, organised by Forward UK and other organisations. It was on the subject of early enforced marriage. For Rona it was the first time to travel across the border, for Tareto Maa it was the first international conference.
Strengthening our communications
A new Tareto Maa WIKI has been introduced and we have created a new Facebook page.
Firstly, the team believed that creating a WIKI would be an important step in sharing the experience gained from the completed projects, encourage dialogue about what we do, and help us develop new ideas for the future. This is the web link to our WIKI: http://www.appropedia.org/Tareto_Maa
Our new Facebook page can be seen here: www.facebook.com/TaretoMaa. We like the new page very much and hope you do to. Please join us there by liking the page!
Following the publication of Gladys’ story on Worldpulse, we have seen a beautiful article published by The Girl Effect: www.girleffect.org/news/2013/04/how-economics-can-change-thinking-on-fgm/.
A severe food crisis. We need your help!
We are facing an urgent and very critical situation as the corn harvest has failed completely at the Tareto Maa Center and in the surrounding district of Transmara.
This has been caused by a viral infection called Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND). It is the first time that this plant disease attacked the crops in East Africa. The infection has destroyed the maize in our field, therefore we must raise funds now to buy staple food for the children.
In addition, alternatives and solutions must be found for the next planting season, to avoid a reoccurring situation in 2014. This will need to include finding seeds resistant to MLND and planting crops other than maize. Research into insecticides is needed as the viruses are transmitted by insects. As this disease is new to Africa, dealing with it is a huge challenge. Therefore we are seeking donor assistance in this very urgent and critical situation to buy food for the children at Tareto Maa.
Please help us here on GlobalGiving if you can: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protect-70-girls-from-genital-mutilation-in-kenya/
Thank you for your assistance!
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