Margaret and Vivian
Global Roots has been protecting young Maasai girls from Female Genital Mutiliation or FGM since 2008.
In the beginning we helped a brave Maasai woman protect 56 girls who all ran away from their villages on the night they were to be cut and sold into marriage. The girls ranged in age from 8 to 13. Each of the girls had heard about our hero’s “safe house” in the Kenyan town of Kilgoris so they ran to her, one by one. These girls are the bravest girls in the world. They ran away from everything they had ever known so that they could stay in school and avoid the horrific human rights crime of FGM.
The number of girls protected by our local hero increased to 72 by the year 2013. We called them the Maasai 72 and we provided the funds that would keep them all safe in boarding school.
We reached out to GlobalGiving in around 2014 and this led us to you. Thank you for your ongoing donations!
Today, we are happy to report that a recent Global Roots audit of the girls remaining in our program led to the rescue of a young Maasai girl whose family had every intention of taking her from school and subjecting her to FGM.
The girl, who we will call Margaret, is shown in the attached photo with Vivian, lead program auditor of our Maasai school-girl program.
We learned during our audit that someone had been paying for Margaret’s boarding school. We were confused by this but, even though her expenses seemed to be covered by family, we kept Margaret in our warning net.
It turns out that Margaret's 74-year-old grandmother is the one who has been paying for Margaret’s school fees. Recently the grandma, whose identity must remain anonymous, was no longer able to help out. This gave other members of Margaret's family the opportunity to come for her. Keep in mind that the sale of a young Maasai girl into marriage carries a great profit in Kenya -- and the profit is maximized if the girl has been subjectd to FGM.
Fortunately, an assistant principal kept the name and number of Saruni M, the rescue operations manager in Kenya for Global Roots. Leaving his number at every school he visits is Global Roots policy. It’s how we have built a warning net that informs us whenever a Maasai girl in our network is threatened.
When Saruni got the call, he immediately emailed the head of Global Roots operations in the USA, Rick Montgomery. Rick then gave Saruni the authority he needed, as well as two other Kenyan managers, to research Margaret’s family situation. When he could confirm that Margaret was truly in danger, Rick tasked Anthony Kokondu of Global Roots in Nairobi to procure the bank account and routing number of Margaret’s school. Funds were wired immediately and no outsider was allowed to talke Margaret away.
Next week, Saruni and his wife Mary (one of the original girls protected by Global Roots) will return to Margaret’s school to check her. Saruni will collect a receipt from the school’s principal for due diligence and transparency purposes. Mary will spend time with Margaret and let her know that she is not alone and that we are with her.
We would like to thank everyone in Kenya who made this rescue possible as well as our esteemed donors at GlobalGiving!
Stay tuned for our next post that will include a link to a video that tells the story of how three of the original Maasai 72 are now fully self-actualized college graduates, including Silvia (photo attached).
The Global Roots Team