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!
Project target on GlobalGiving increased
From when we first applied to be on Global Giving back in 2011, we have seen the number of girls, needing our protection and shelter, increase from 70 to 104. Due to the tremendous support we have received here on GlobalGiving our initial target amount of $16,000 is nearly achieved and we are able to raise it now to $20,000. Many thanks to all of you for supporting us so far and making this success possible.
Positioning and strategy for the continuation of our work
In the previous months, members of the Tareto Maa team in different countries (Kenya, UK, Austria and Germany) worked together to discuss different options for Tareto Maa’s work in future: how to develop the project, how to extend our activities as a community project and efficiently connect them. How to make Tareto Maa more independent from donations and external support, and how to explain to potential partners what is unique in the way Tareto Maa is fighting against FGM. Plans for the future of Tareo Maa as a community based project include a center for professional training and higher education, increased sustainability through farming and food production and a medical clinic. This would increase the benefits to the wider community. As these ideas develop we will keep our supporters informed.
Raising funds for school fees and farming
On April 14th one Austrian supporter named Philippe participated at the Vienna Marathon and combined his run with a fundraising project for Tareto Maa. The initial aim was to raise 300 Euros, the fees for one child’s schooling. At the end, more 1,600 Euros have been raised, enough to send five children to school! Thanks to Philippe and to all the people who supported his charity run!
Sponsorships for the girls are always welcome, and the sponsorships we have are vital for the success of Tareto Maa. A special sponsorship that we have at Tareto Maa, is a group of students from Keimei Gakuen Junior High School in Japan who jointly sponsor one of the girls in the Tareto Maa Center. In February, these students started a fundraising project at their school and asked their classmates to support Tareto Maa.
Furthermore, early in the New Year, instead of Christmas presents for its clients, a Berlin communication agency donated a new kitchen for the children in the Tareto Maa Center, and a vocal piano sextet from Germany sold CDs for Tareto Maa after a concert.
One new fundraising project has already begun. Further land has been purchased for farming and the funds for fencing and seeds are now being raised (see: http://www.betterplace.org/en/projects/1707). The girls in the Tareto Maa Center have already seen the benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables and increased protein thanks to milk cows and egg-laying hens. Preparation of the land is now underway for planting the crops.
New Annual Report released and personal blog post on FGM
In April we have published our Annual Report for 2012, including financial information about the work of Tareto Maa. Here it is: www.tareto-maa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Tareto-Maa_Annual-Report-2012_020413.pdf
Furthermore, Helen from our team UK has published a blog post acknowledging International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM (6th February). It is a personal blog post but linking it to Tareto Maa’s work: onevoice1freedom.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/international-zero-tolerance-day-of-fgm-6th-february-2013/
In December and January, eight of the girls in the Tareto Maa Center passed their National Exams to complete primary school and can now go on to secondary school. We wish them every success as they have worked really hard. Furthermore, the first girl in the Tareto Maa Center completed her secondary school education. Congratulations to all of these students!
In addition, a new class of pupils started at our primary school and the newly built classroom opened. Now the Naitawang Riverside Academy offers education for standard 1-4.
We want to thank everyone for making all these achievements possible. Keep donating please, so we can develop and expand this work. Without you we could not achieve this.
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