Human Rights for the Pastoralist Girl Child

by Expanding Opportunities
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Those Beautiful Beads
Those Beautiful Beads

Idyllic, cultural, traditional, beautiful are all words used to describe the beads of the Samburu Trobe. But there is meaning behind the beads. For young females it can be a sign of sexual enslavement. Male relatives, usually older, give beads to their often distant female relative even s young as 6 years old! This beading allows them to have sexual relations but pregnancy is not allowed. Contraception is not available for these young girls. So if pregnancy occurs, they are forcefully and cruelly aboted or if the baby is born it is carried off to the forest to die.

This tragic traditional practice is wonderfully documented in a brief video called A Silent Sacrifice produced by Jane Meriwas n the IWGIA website

http://www.iwgia.org/publications/search-pubs?publication_id=612

It is well worth the few minutes to listen.

Thank you for your support to end these prectices and send the GIRL CHILD to school.

Links:

Pastoralist Girl
Pastoralist Girl

Education is the best weapon to ensure Human Rights for the Pastoralist Girl Child.   In pastoralist tribes education has not been valued especially for girls, as they will soon belong to their husband’s family.   Education has always cost money and for families living in deep poverty, school fees are not high on the list. Therefore the girl child is the least likely to be sent to school. BUT in most cases if the girl child’s school fees are sponsored, they will allow her to attend school.   It is there that the child learns she has rights and what they are. The longer she is sponsored in school, the more likely she is to learn and understand the value of education and her right to complete her education and in that way resist EFM and FGM. She will then teach these rights to her own children. Meanwhile education for the adults in the community teaches that these practices are now illegal and also provides education concerning the value to the family of educating the girl child and holding marriage until education is complete.

 This young girl’s story is not uncommon. She walked a great distance to seek admission at Gordon Clem Academy; Aremiet mixed Secondary School. Often the girls have no funds but want to attend school. We were unable to raise funds for her education but she was allowed to attend school and share the food in the small dormitory with the others. She is very grateful as her only other option for her daily bread is to allow her father to marry her to someone she doesn’t know. We are still seeking funds to allow her and other girls in similar situations to stay and receive an education.

Links:

The way the walls will look-this room almost done.
The way the walls will look-this room almost done.

Expanding Oportunities has continued to support the girls that were rescued.  One of the girls is facing a significant challenge in her life but she is determined to rise above it and continue in school.  No additional rescues have been performed due to lack of funds.

But the Aremiet Girl's Recue Center and the Gordon Clem Academy have joined together to provide Phase I of a Girl's dormitory to provide term housing and year round housing for pastoralist girls.  Volunteers from the USA  sealed the majority of the newly dressed stone and the remainder will be completed this month in preparation for furnishing the dormitory. 

Slowly the dormitory will be furnished and the magistrate informed that the Rescue Center is prepared to receive girls being rescued from FGM and EFM.  Expanding Opportunities will continue to provide housing in other schools but will also be able to provide "safe' housing for other girls as well.

It is donors likeyou that make this possible.  Thank You.

Links:

Girls Dormitory
Girls Dormitory

The Girl’s Rescue Center, now incorporated with Gordon Clem Academy, is slowly but steadily overcoming. The first room of the dormitory is now nearing completion.

A series of ongoing tribal clashes accompanied with opportunistic thefts has slowed progress to a crawl. Its “up” side is that we have learned all the weaknesses of the building and are securing them one at a time. Soon the building could withstand a major attack without a shudder. (there has to be an upside right?)

And crawling will eventually bring us to the goal as long as we don’t quit.

An additional $15,000 will complete the Rescue Center and $2,300 will build a strong perimeter fence around the exterior enclosing the building and a bit of garden space.

Meanwhile some rescued girls are assisted to remain in the boarding facility near their school where they are cared for during the school terms.

Thank you for your continued support. There is a great need for this project. Despite the backing of the laws of Kenya, traditional customs change ever so slowly when the adult population has not had the opportunity to become educated to the harmful results of both FGM and EFM. Your support makes an enormous difference.

Links:

Pastoralist girls in school
Pastoralist girls in school

The Times They are a Changin’

For centuries Pastoralist girls were prepared for marriage very early, some as young as 10 years old! Often the prospective father is in his 40’s or 50’s and the girl is his second or third wife. The negotiations for the girl’s dowry of cows, and goats is done without the girl’s knowledge and most often without even the mother’s knowledge and consent.

Most tribes prepared the girl with some form of Female Genital Mutilation. This procedure is risky to the life of the girl as well as presenting many challenges in child birth.

Girls were rarely allowed to go to school but remained at home to learn how to perform domestic chores.

Now in 2015, the times are a changin’. Illegal in Kenya, FGM and EFM are still performed but in hiding. Girls are required by law to attend school. Though more than half the girls still remain at home, the awareness is slowly filtering to the villages. The marriage value of educated girls is increasing. The girls that were educated are finding employment and assisting their families. They are speaking to and often “for” their parents in three languages, demonstrating the value of education.

There is still a great need for Girl Child RESCUE and an even greater need for financial assistance to pay school fees for the girl child.

Thank you donors for assisting with this change.

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Expanding Opportunities

Location: Brooks, ME - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.exop.org
Project Leader:
Beverly Stone
Brooks, Maine United States

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