Protect 122 girls from genital mutilation in Kenya

 
$29,016
$8,984
Raised
Remaining
Opening day of the nursery
Opening day of the nursery

Many things have been happening at Tareto Maa in the previous months. The girls remain well and there is much news to report.

New nursery and vegetable plot

At the end of September the new nursery opened its doors to 24 boys and girls from the community. The nursery building is the old temporary refuge, first built to house the girls, and now this can be a welcome additional source of income for Tareto Maa as well as being another service to the community. Also since September, while a larger plot of ground is still needed, the refuge has a smaller area for growing vegetables such as carrots to help with the supply of fresh food.

Third classroom

On the 19th October the Tareto Maa team held a local Harambee fund-raiser for the third classroom of the primary school. A total of 1500 US-$ was raised which can now be used for the construction works. The aim is for this classroom to be completed in the next weeks, certainly for the beginning of 2013. The remaining costs of the classroom will be taken from existing funds.

Sponsorships

At the time of the last report there were 54 girls receiving individual sponsorships and this has increased to 59 – but more girls would love to have a personal sponsor supporting their schooling. Recently, letters have been written by the girls to their sponsors and they will be shortly receiving their replies. The girls love to have these letters and they are grateful and happy for the support they get. If you feel you could support a child in this way then please contact us at contact@tareto-maa.org. We need more sponsors to come forward and this is going to be a major focus for our forthcoming Christmas campaign, especially as our educational costs are increasing with girls moving from primary to high school.

Huru Kits

In September, a trial of reusable sanitary wear, made in Nairobi, was purchased. These Huru Kits contain washable underwear and sanitary napkins as well as literature on HIV awareness. By purchasing these kits, it will lower the overall cost to the refuge of sanitary items as well as being environmentally friendly. The girls liked the products and we are in the final stages of raising funds for the purchase of enough kits for all the girls at a cost of ca. 1000 US-$. We still need a few more donations. If you would like to give to this cause please go to www.globalgiving.org/projects/protect-70-girls-from-genital-mutilation-in-kenya/ to donate.

Movie sreenings and joint safari

During the month of August, the refuge saw two visitors, Armin of Tareto Maa Deutschland and Caroline from the US. The girls were very excited about these people coming to visit them as they knew they were going on a special adventure with them. Funded by individual private funds, they were able to visit the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. For some, this was the first time they had seen wild beasts and it was an amazing experience for them. They enjoyed it very much.

Also, with the donation of a new computer and electrical equipment provided by a company from Europe, the children were able to see their first movie screenings. For instance the movie “The Lion King”, the BBC documentaries “Planet Earth” and finally the Olympic 800 metre gold run by local Maasai hero David Rudisha. They watched that race over and over again. They loved it all.

New playground facilities

With the help of an Austrian donor, the girls now have a playground and a football pitch with two goals. The playground has swings and a seesaw which will be used by the children in the refuge as well as by the children in the nursery. New toys and books were also purchased. The hula hoops were a particular favourite of the girls. They played with them non-stop and over the course of just one day, all the bright shining new colours of the hoops were faded to grey, such was the amount that they had been used and appreciated by the children.

December campaign in the local community

The team in Kenya have been working for several months on a project which will take place over five days and will begin in the school holidays on the 9th December (to coincide with the beginning of the next circumcision season). With co-operation from the District Government, a health-promotion campaign will begin to focus on the potential long-term abandonment of the practice within the community. Talks and events will be held to bring people together to talk about FGM, its effects and what can be achieved to bring lasting change by hopefully an eventual abandonment and an alternative rite of passage for the girls. This event is a crucial step towards this.

Planting carrots
Planting carrots
The hula hoop (photo by Caroline Annandale)
The hula hoop (photo by Caroline Annandale)
The new dormitory
The new dormitory

Dormitory: the girls moved in

At the end of May, the girls finally moved into their new dormitory. They were very excited and happy to be moving at last.

The old shelter, being built as a temporary refuge will have a new purpose. One room can be used as a nursery, hence, the team is now looking at creating such a facility.

A second solar panel has been installed at the Tareto Maa Center, aiding the girls with their homework. Now they no longer have to rely on unhealthy petroleum lamps and can power a radio (as well as a computer when they receive this).

A computer has been purchased by our European supporters so that the girls can have IT and internet access. This is going to be transported to Kenya in August when one of the European team members visits and will be a new valuable tool for the children’s education.

Website re-designed

With new funds and supporters needed both for short and longer term plans, it was decided that our word press website needed a complete re-design, where all our links (for example, GlobalGiving, Facebook and Kiva) could be found and easily utilized by those who wanted to know more about our work and to give donations. Our website www.tareto-maa.org was launched in the early summer, informing our followers of our progress and news as it happens.

Naitawang Riverside Academy

Our new primary school was very successful in competitions for singing and storytelling. This was a proud achievement for the school which we founded in the beginning of this year together with the local community. In the Kilgoris Division the students of the Naitawang Riverside Academy secured first place. In the wider Transmara District they were no. 1 as well. And in the competition of the whole Rift Valley Province they were no. 2 of 100 schools. They received 83 points – 3 more and they would have been invited to the national competition in Nairobi.

At present, there are plans to build an additional classroom for January 2013, the funds for which the team has to secure. However, we can apply to the Kenyan government for assistance from next year onwards to extend the school further.

Sponsorships

Now, 54 of the 95 girls in the Tareto Maa Rescue Center have individual sponsors for their school fees. More sponsors are still urgently needed.

A new henhouse

Tareto Maa is always looking at ways in which it can sustain itself. A hen house and now the arrival of 30 chickens mean that the children can have access to good sources of protein. It is hoped that an additional vegetable garden can be created but at present there is difficulty in purchasing some adjacent land. The team will keep you updated on this development.

Moving forward

Tareto Maa has continued to network with other organizations and charities for ongoing support. The need to sustain longer-term funding and to work alongside other partners for mutual benefit, as well as strengthening the long term future of the girls is vital. Various applications for funding have been exchanged with one central project that is being planned for the autumn. It is the intention that a public event discussing FGM in the local community will be organized for November of this year.

Children with chickens in their hands
Children with chickens in their hands
Naitawang students at music festival
Naitawang students at music festival

Links:

Children at the Tareto Maa Rescue Center
Children at the Tareto Maa Rescue Center

A new dormitory, and further extensions of the Rescue Center

In the previous three months, a very important focus of our work was the extension of the Tareto Maa Rescue Center. As we only had a temporary building so far, we started to build a new and permanent dormitory. To these construction works, the funds which we raised in the Winter Challenge on GlobalGiving made a substantial contribution. In addition to that, we asked for support in our local community. And we received a huge amount of support!

Members of the local community donated 70 bags of cement, 66 iron sheets, 5,000 bricks, and lots of timber. During April, the new dormitory was nearly completed. Only the windows, the doors, and the plaster are still lacking. We hope that the girls can move in soon. The old (temporary) building will be used as a “dining hall” and storage room henceforward.

A second solar module which has been donated by a German solar company, has been installed in March, and we use it to operate a radio. The girls are very happy that they can listen to the news now, and they feel more connected with other people in Kenya, Africa, and other parts of the world.

We built a pipe between the river and the rescue center. With the help of a mobile generator, we can pump up water now that can be used for washing and gardening. Unfortunately there is no good news as regards our water well (which we wanted to use for drinking water). It had collapsed in the beginning of the rainy season. As an engineer explained to us now, the soil of the rescue center is too wet for a normal digging. So it would collapse again, if we tried to rebuild it. We are looking for an alternative solution.

The Kenyan public health authorities made a regular inspection of the rescue center about six weeks ago. In general they supported our work very much. There was only one appeal: that the number of toilets and washing rooms is not enough for 95 children. Thus we had to build additional facilities (which we did in the meantime).

 

Naitawang Riverside Academy

The new primary school which we opened in January 2012 (in close collaboration with the local community) has been approved by the national school authorities in Nairobi now. After one year of operation (i.e. in January 2013), we will be allowed to apply for government funds to expand the school. To build another classroom within 2012, we want to organize a Harambe in June. “Harambe” is the Swahili word for a public fundraising event. With this event we want to ask the local community to support the extension of the school.

 

Annual Report and a new project video published

At the end of the first quarter, we published our Annual Report 2011 which reports on the project development in 2011, and on the basic financial data of Tareto Maa. You find the Annual Report here: http://bit.ly/Hr5tXT

We also published a new video on our YouTube channel. The video is called “Life in the Tareto Maa Rescue Center”. This is the link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGkM378lLGs.

The number of girls in the Rescue Center is still 95. At the moment, all of the girls are healthy and doing fine. We want to thank all our donors for the great support they give to us and to the girls in the Tareto Maa Rescue Center.

The new dormitory - nearly completed
The new dormitory - nearly completed
Being safe from FGM and forced marriages
Being safe from FGM and forced marriages

Links:

The children of Tareto Maa
The children of Tareto Maa

November/December: The “circumcision season”

In the previous weeks, 25 more children came to Tareto Maa and asked for shelter. In 2010, the number of “new girls” during the circumcision season had been 43. This decrease shows that the campaigning of Tareto Maa was very successful in 2011.

Traditionally, the circumcision of girls takes place in the last weeks of a year. During this period in November/December 2010, a lot more children took refuge at Tareto Maa than we anticipated. Back then, within 6 weeks, the number of girls in the rescue center jumped up from 27 to 70. So we had to nourish and send to school a total of 70 children in 2011. But at the same time, Tareto Maa’s impact in the local community increased as well. Many neighbours and representatives of the local community started to support our relief project.The members of the Tareto Maa Group, and particularly the pastor, who holds frequent conversations within the community, observed that many people began to rethink their opinions.

That this observation was correct became evident in this year’s “circumcision season”. Many families refused to practice female mutilation. Accordingly, the number of girls who had to run for shelter declined considerably.

As 25 “new girls” arrived in the rescue center in the previous weeks, the total number of girls in the center is 95 now.


A new school: in close cooperation with the community

Some months ago, Tareto Maa proposed building a new school together with the local community. The idea was to strengthen the education in Kilgoris and to save money for Tareto Maa. Instead of sending the girls who live in the rescue center to public schools, which are quite far away and involve fees, the private school offers a better and “free” education to the Tareto Maa girls, with tuition being charged for the other children sent there by their families.

Funds for the new school were raised with public events in Transmara (fundraising events which are called “Harambee” in Kenya). In addition to that, donors from the US and Europe supported the project. With a budget of US $ 14,000 the first two classrooms were built in November and December 2011. The construction works, as well as the registration of the new school were finished in time. With a public celebration the school opened on January 9, 2012.

The name of the new school is Naitawang Riverside Acadamy. The word “Naitawang“ comes from the Maasai language and means “light of our community“. The school is seated within the area of the Tareto Maa center.

In the new school
In the new school

Links:

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Organization

Project Leader

Gladys Kiranto

Kilgoris, Transmara Kenya

Where is this project located?

Map of Protect 122 girls from genital mutilation in Kenya