Since the last update, Cherish Others Organization Kenya has continued to implement this project to protect Maasai girls from FGM. As part of this project, we continue to support the education of girls in order to enable them to lead productive lives and to avoid early marriage, which is associated with FGM.
Donations received through Global Giving have helped Cherish Others pay school fees for four girls who will graduate from high school in November. These four girls initially came to Cherish Others through their participation in one of our educational seminars and alternative rites ceremonies in order to enable them to escape FGM. They were chosen by Cherish Others in consultation with the Maasai community. The girls have performed exceptionally well. They already serve as role models for other girls in their community, and will be even more so once they graduate. Support from Cherish Others enabled the girls to avoid early marriage. Graduating from high school will lay the foundation for them to lead normal, productive lives. All four have the intention to seek jobs, and to use part of their salaries to aid their families and siblings.
Separately, we are proud to report that the youngest girl who has been supported through contributions received through Global Giving will be entering high school. Evelyn, who is 14, had also benefitted from a Cherish Others anti-FGM program. We are particularly proud of her because of how difficult it has been for her to succeed. Despite the fact that Evelyn participated in our alternative rites of passage, her parents nevertheless insisted that she be circumcised. While most parents accept the alternative rites of passage -- and as a result do not pursue FGM -- Evelyn's did not. Cherish Others supported Evelyn to live away from the parents so that she would not be subjected to the practice and to the early marriage that her parents sought.
At the same time, we have been providing school supplies to girls attending primary school. In addition to school supplies, such as paper, pencils, and bookbags, we are providing sanitary pads for girls in upper primary school, Parents in the Maasai community are so poor that, even when they support their children to go to school, the children sometimes do not succeed because they do not have the necessary supplies, or drop out because they cannot deal with the female sanitary needs.
Meanwhile, Cherish Others has continued to sensitive the local community, including parents and community leaders, to the highly negative consequences of FGM and early marriage.