Children
 Kenya
Project #9169

Protecting Girls from Genital Mutilation in Kenya

by Tareto Maa Organization
Tareto Maa Maasai Girl
Tareto Maa Maasai Girl

To our supporters and followers, we wish to report that the girls continue to do well at the refuge and we thank you for your continued support in helping us, by ensuring that sufficient funds are found for the girls to go to school and for any other needs to run the refuge.

The girls continue to do well at school and are well, apart from a few minor illnesses. We have managed to register 15 girls for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education ( K. C.P.E.) and 15 others for the Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education ( K. C.S.E.). We have also had other children coming to sit their exams with our children.

The biggest challenge that we have faced (which isn’t new) is the unpredictable weather and how our food supply relies on the rainfall. There has been another drought in Kenya which saw our own harvests fail. Maize that we planted on farmland that we hired was destroyed and failed to yield a crop, forcing us to buy. This results in Maize and other vegetables going up in price, due to these shortages. We have also had problems with our fresh water supply. Fortunately, we are now receiving rain. In fact, some of the roads have been quite flooded recently.

Inspite of all of this, the Tareto Maa girls continue to be highly motivated with their studies, as well as their sports and games. At the Naitawang Riverside Academy, the girls had ball game competitions with other schools. Currently, they have managed to reach Sub Zonal level whereby, they will go on to Zonal level next week. The girls have also won games in volleyball, netball and a draw in football. They did have some challenges that hindered their performance which were: a small field for practice, lack of equipment including balls and volleyballs, nets and a lack of sports clothing and shoes. To be able to acquire these things would mean their sporting skills and motivation for the games would increase.

Furthermore, we have had visitors from the community who said that the girls are being adequately provided for, with their essential needs, that they would not be able to get at home: Food, education, religious instruction, as well as safety against the harmful practices of F.G.M and early marriage.

On an administrative level, a new German team led by Astrid Hauke took over the existing German team’s management in January from Armin Erkens. This has been a smooth transition and Gladys welcomes this change and the new direction ahead, with fresh ideas and impetus. Both Gladys and the new team acknowledges, and thanks most warmly, Armin Erkens and the old team, for the many years of momentous work and success and also acknowledges the need for them to now have a rest from this constant work.

The most pressing need to date is the need for a new dormitory and toilet block. The current refuge just can not meet the needs of the many numbers of girls that now live there. A fundraiser at Christmas, with a promotion of the girls in a video and the release of a short film by Lawrence Richards from the BNI (who is now a prominent member of the new German team) were a success. This film talked about the refuge with the girls personal testimonials which were very powerful. The other video emphasised why a new dormitory and toilet block were needed recited by the girls.

Then, this last week saw a very successful fundraiser in Kreuzberg, Germany. There was a big bingo night and many prices had been donated. The amount raised in this one evening was1,927 euros. This was an astonishing achievement for one night’s work and our thanks goes to Suli Puschban for her fantastic organisation and running the event, and to Erica Bohr for her team in working hard in getting the prizes. This was a big moral boast for the new team.

Finally, It is clear our supporters worldwide still care very much about this project and the girls of Tareto Maa. From its beginnings in 2009, every year the centre has grown, has seen many challenges but continues to thrive. Above all, the girls are happy and thankful. Please continue to support these wonderful, confident girls who are so grateful to you for giving them a chance to succeed in life.

Thank you.

Yours most sincerely,

Gladys Kiranto.

Girls in their dormitory
Girls in their dormitory
Tareto Maa girls posing
Tareto Maa girls posing

One of the biggest impacts and successes to date of Tareto Maa has been the campaigns to the wider community, most notably, the one that occurred in August 2015 and again this summer. Last August, the campaigning centred upon the coming together of villagers and community leaders to show how education and the empowerment of young girls and women can have such a dramatic and positive effect on changing attitudes to genital cutting. Most notably Gladys reports how the men’s attitudes are changing and how they are celebrating the girls in their community being able to go to school. Even Gladys’s own Father (who was resistant to any change) is now proud of his daughter’s achievements.

This year, the summer event marked the occasion of children returning for the new term and this was celebrated by overseas visitors and the making of a film (a separate report of this is being written). Some girls had finished school and there were successes within higher education as well. There was a big party and exchanging of gifts for the girls which included books, balls and writing/drawing equipment.

The girls dressed up for this event and this was intended to highlight a specific impact statement. Girls are dressed in their best clothes for when they are circumcised. This dress tradition was observed, at this event, but the difference was this was a ‘rite of Passage’ for educational success, not for FGM and early marriage.

Lydia, one of the girls, graduating spoke about how education changes and empowers women and what this opportunity has meant to her. This was such an emotional and passionate speech that there were tears of rejoicing in the audience.

So a shift in culture has been made with respect to old practices. To date, it has been noted that within a 20-30km radius, no more genital cutting is now occurring but in the wider community, beyond this area, it is still being practiced. On a micro-level Tareto Maa has definitely changed the immediate environment and not just in FGM rates. It is reported that girls who are educated bring back their skills and knowledge to the community, whereas if boys are educated, they often leave the area, so that does not benefit the community as a whole. The wider aim of Tareto Maa is to take their message and their model further afield in the future.

These girls finished High School with your support
These girls finished High School with your support
Tareto Maa Girls proud with sunglases
Tareto Maa Girls proud with sunglases
In August we had some visitors and some events at Tareto Maa and this was a cause to celebrate. Firstly, Gladys and Markus our directors came to the centre with some visitors. Lawrence and Astrid from BNI Germany and along with Caroline ( from America) came to make a film about Tareto Maa. This is a very exciting development and the film will be ready to be shown by Christmas.

We also had a party to celebrate the girls' school successes and a farewell party for those transferring to high school and those who had completed college. The party was colourful and very successful, and we were entertained by the girls and the community at large with photos and videos taken by our guests. It was a great day for everybody and the girls and staff really appreciated the party that was prepared by our visitors.There were also presents for the girls that were brought with them. We wish to thank them very much for all these things.

On the same day, we had a fundraising event to help start raising funds for the building of a new girl's dormitory which is full to capacity. 
The school opened for the start of the new term on the 29th August and the teachers and pupils were very excited and full of joy in receiving presents from our visitors; of books, crayons, balls and other playing equipment. Our guests had to leave the next day (30h August) and this caused mixed emotions. The children were so happy with the occasion,the gifts that had been bought,of their school opening again but sad to see the visitors, who had been made most welcome, return to their homes.

There is one challenge which is affecting the school and that is access to clean water because of a drought which has lasted two months. This has had a terrible effect on the vegetables grown, including maize and beans which are available some miles away but there the prices are higher. Finally, we thanked God for some rain which helped to minimize the dust. We need your support to help keep feeding our girls within this present time, as the climate poses continued challenges with growing crops and access to fresh vegetables and food.

We thank all our supporters in advance for  your continued help and donations for everyone both girls and care staff at Tareto Maa.

Tareto Maa Girls finished High School
Tareto Maa Girls finished High School
Play time at Tareto Maa
Play time at Tareto Maa
Group photo with the visitors
Group photo with the visitors
Tareto Maa Girls racing
Tareto Maa Girls racing

The girls of Tareto Maa have had both sporting and educational achievements over the last three months and we wish to share their successes here to show what your support means, not just in combating FGM/ early enforced marriage, but in helping these girls achieve beyond what they thought possible.

The girls enjoy football and have their own team. In April, they represented the Pirrar Division at sub-county level. They were very proud and happy to represent their county. As well as being fun, they really enjoying taking part. This activity also helps them to become fitter, stronger and healthier, as well as working as part of a team.

Also very recently, two girls, Magdaline and Rael represented, not only their school, (the Naitawang River Side Academy)  but the whole Transmara West Sub County at County level, in the town of Narok. They competed in the 800M race and Shot Put Field event. Everyone, including their teachers, local community and school friends have high hopes that they will go on to compete at a national level. Good luck to all the girls continued success in these sporting events. We are very proud of them.

In education, there has been academic achievements too. Two girls have been training to become teachers. Firstly, Lydia received her credit certificate of primary school teaching at Shanzu Teacher Training College. She was one of the girls sponsored through the Tareto Maa sponsorship Programme. This is a very fine achievement for Lydia and Tareto Maa for making this possible.
Sylvia, another girl from Tareto Maa, like Lydia, has a dream to be a teacher. She  finishes her teacher training in July. Currently, she has been volunteering at the Tareto centre helping other girls with their learning. She is grateful for the financial, social, emotional and moral support she has received from supporters. Sylvia believes that education is the key to unlock your future. She wants to help other girls achieve their potential and has gladly been teaching the girls as a volunteer to help them secure a better future.

Congratulations Lydia and Sylvia. We are so proud and happy of you.

So, this news demonstrates how much can be achieved through the support of individuals, through such platforms as Global Giving. On behalf of the Tareto Maa team and the girls, I would like to thank you very much to all our sponsors and supporters who help our girls, in both these sporting and educational achievements.

Gladys Kiranto.

Tareto Maa Girl
Tareto Maa Girl
Tareto Maa Girls with Gladys, the project founder
Tareto Maa Girls with Gladys, the project founder

Tareto Maa

It all started way back in 1991, when I underwent the traditional way of Maasai life from childhood to adulthood, hence circumcision which is now referred to as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It was the pride of parent to see that his or her child goes through it. However I went through against my wish since it was done by force. Up to date it really has affected my life, the whole family was not happy by my refusal.

After circumcision, I left home disillusioned following an engagement to a man who was five times older than me, leading to my rejection by my family. I took refuge in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve at the age of 12 years, where I got employed.

I developed an interest in how to safe the Maasai girl from going through the heinous act, which left me with pain, shame, trauma and rejection.

My working in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve did not satisfy my needs hence migration to Mombasa where I started a small business selling Maasai Ornaments. Trough it I made some savings which enabled me to progress until  I could buy a taxi. I did the taxi business in Mombasa to the point where I had four taxis. I was able to maintain my self, my son and the family at large. As a result of my success I won back my parents and siblings.

After that I came back home I decided to buy my own piece of land. As inheritance is exclusively passed on from father to son a Maasai woman usually does not own anything.

The land bought is where I still live today an that's where I actualized, with the little savings I had, my dream of setting up a rescue center hence the birth of Tareto Maa.

 

Naitawang Riverside Academy

Another thing I realized was that poor education Maasai is one of the causes for early marriages. In my case I dropped out of school with 12 years, not able to read and write fluently.

Naitawang was born out of Tareto Maa to give the rescued girls education. It would be meaningless to save the girls from FGM just to land them on early marriage.

As a result of all the above, the quality of education given here has impressed the community to the extend that the surrounding families have also enrolled their children at the same school hence an early indicator of the success in the future.

Children are now able to read and write.

We have a good testimony of the fruits of Tareto Maa, right now we have two girls who have gone through the process from the primary school, high school up to the Teachers Training college having completed a P1 course courtesy of Tareto Maa. Others have joined other middle colleges.

As of now, the school has population of 126 girls being sponsored.

 

 

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.

Tareto Maa Girls in school
Tareto Maa Girls in school
Tareto Maa Girls in school
Tareto Maa Girls in school
 

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Organization Information

Tareto Maa Organization

Location: Kilgoris, Transmara - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​www.tareto-maa.org
Project Leader:
Gladys Kiranto
Kilgoris, Transmara Kenya

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