Children
 Kenya
Project #9169

Protect 122 girls from genital mutilation in Kenya

by Tareto Maa Organization
Tareto Maa Children
Tareto Maa Children

MAASAI ELDERS DENOUNCE OUTDATED CULTURAL PRACTICES

A section of Maasai elders from Trans Mara have denounced outdated cultural practices like Moranism and Female Genital Mutilation saying they had impacted negatively on the community.

Speaking during a pre- initiation ceremony for a group of boys held at Osupuko Hills Springs Children home, the elders called on the Maasai community to abandon the outdated cultural practices and embrace modern way of living.

They said though the move may seem to conflict with what most members of their community of their generation believe, it was for the well being of the future generations.

They said that they know that their  people are still rooted in the retrogressive cultural practices, but it is time they  told  them the truth.

The elders from the Ilnyangusi and Seuri age sets that characterise the elderly in the Maasai community said FGM had denied the girl child in the Maasai community education while moranism had denied the boy child right to education.

Mr Olelemwa Seitai said they are now advocating for modern circumcision of boys where boys are taught matters adulthood in a Christian background and civilised manner and finally circumcised by a trained health personnel.

He said Maasai land lacked enough professionals because most of their children had not gone to school and urged the community to   embrace education in a bid to raise an elite community.

Mr Juusi Ole Mantu  said the community should only embrace helpful practices and abandon the harmful old practices. He said old and new practices should be made to align for the well being of the community.

Mr William Ole Karante said education was key to success and urged that the new generation should do away with retrogressive culture.

He condemned circumcision of girls saying uncircumcised women were women enough just like the circumcised ones.

He added that the community must gear up to compete with other communities in the world and the only possible way is by educating their children.

Tareto Maa Girls dancing
Tareto Maa Girls dancing
Maasai Elders meeting
Maasai Elders meeting
Tareto Maa Girls
Tareto Maa Girls
Tareto Maa Organization FGM campaign

Held on 21:08:2015 Friday at Naitawang Academy play ground.
REPORT ON THE EVENTS AND RESOLUTIONS

The meeting started at exactly 10:00 am as planned with the word of prayers given by Pastor Ole Tiemasi
thereafter followed by a procession by all the Tareto Maa girls in beautiful Red T-shirts adorned by our girls.
Immediately after the procession, the entertainment followed.
The gathering was thrilled by what the girls presented, a testimony of how God has really blessed Tareto Maa and the community at large.
We had drama, traditional dancers and poetry all bearing the the theme of the day SAY NO TO FGM AND FORCED EARLY MARRIAGES IN MAASAI LAND.

The meeting was fully attended with all the parents and guardians of the girls, an estimated number of 500 people were in attendance with a majority being women accounting to 300, thus justify the good work done by Tareto Maa in the society by changing the old ways of doing things, it was also an indication that the attitude of women towards modern ways has changed hence positive attitude towards education.
The meeting was also attended by the area administrative wing lead by the area chief among many others.
After the entertainment, there were speeches, the founder of Tareto Maa Mrs Gladys Kiranto took the gathering through the mission, vision and objectives of Tareto Maa, that its main objective is to support girls rescued from the retrogressive act of FGM and early marriages by providing them with the following items:
1) Shelter- hence the start of Tareto Maa rescue centre thus the construction of the dormitories which are now over stretch due to high demand hence need for more and beddings are also urgently required - ie blankets, sheets, beds and mattresses
2) Education - the girls are given education since education as put by Nelson Mandela "education is the the only weapon used to change the world" by paying their school fees from nursery class to college
3) clothing of the girls - we buy school uniforms, shoes,
4) Food - the girls are fed by Tareto Maa during the holidays the 128 girls and the rest during school days.
5) We do also provide sanitary towels to our grown up girls through out the year
6) Provision of books and stationary every start of year as the girls progress to the next class.
7) Provision of guiding and counselling services to the girls and their families
8) Provision of career development to our girls so as to make them meaningful members of the community after completing their studies.
9) Provision of role models by the community members from within and without
10) Provision of spiritual nourishment at the early stages of the life by dedicated and committed church leaders and elders
11) Talent harvest from the girls - it is the duty of Tareto Maa to give the rescued girls an opportunity to explore and exploit their talents to the maximum.
The founder also notified the people present of some of the projects undertaken so far by Tareto Maa with the assistance of the sponsors from Austria and America as follows:
1) The construction of the girls dormitory
2) The construction of the dinning hall which not yet furnished with the tables and chairs
The found also highlighted the need for the construction of the bridge connecting the centre and the main road, provision of clean and safe water for the girls at the rescue centre, proper medication for the girls and the security of the girls once admitted at the center.
She also highlighted the issue of fluctuations of prices of the essential commodities thus the need for review of the earlier budget.
The meeting was also notified of the good performance of the girls both academically and the co-curricallah activities, the girls went up to the county level.
Parents and guardians in response praised the the organization for the good work it has done for the short period its in operation, thus pledging to support it spiritually, morally and financially and a show of commitment they each donated a sheep towards Tareto Maa and promised to be doing it annually as a sign of appreciation and supplementing for what the sponsors and well wishers have been doing.
The community members also requested to be part and parcel of the team running the affairs of the organization.
The meeting was also blessed by the attendance of the government officials and the other like minded players in the fight against FGM and early marriages and the assistance of the orphans and the needy children in the society.
We had the founder and Director of Sirua Aulo Academy who is also a pillar in the efforts of making the society a better place to live.
The chief Guest was The director of Ewuaso Ngiro South Development Authority Mr Charles Sunkuli who really inspired all in attendance with his wonderful speech based on the needy to assist the girl education and women empowerment, he pledged to partner with Tareto Maa and the community in ensuring that the objectives have been achieved.
The meeting ended peacefully and as planned.
Helen
Helen

The Story of my Sister Helen:

My name is Helen. I was born in 1985, as the 6th child in a polygamous family which counted my father and his 6 wifes.

My village where I grew up is called Osupuko. It is located near Kilgoris in the Transmara West District.

I completed primary school 8 years in Osupuko.

My education ended at the age of 14 when my parents decided that it was time for me to get married. According to the Maasai tradition, a girl can only be seen as a woman once she has undergone the traditional passage to adulthood during a celebration whereby each girl undergoes female genital mutilation (FGM).

 

Shortly after, I was married to a young man whose parents became increasingly negative about our union for the fact that we were both very young. At one point, he was sent back to school and I was left alone at home with 3 small children, all girls. First I thought I could manage but the job was too hard on me so after a while I decided to go back to my parents even though I knew there would be little support from their side. At least, I had more peace of mind.

 

FGM has been a traumatic experience which impacted on me and my children. I often felt rejected, stigmatized and isolated by others of my age or my former schoolmates. We didn´t have always food, we couldn´t afford clothes and during the most critical times we had no place to stay.

 

My sister Gladys called me when she started Tareto Maa, to assist her with her new project. I liked the idea to be working to help other children escape the devastating consequences caused by FGM and forced marriage. Today, I am very happy to be working for Tareto Maa and to see that my children have enough food, a home, clothes and most important for us Maasai that they are going to school.

 

Tareto Maa is a blessing for our community. More than ever, I want to continue protecting the new generation of young girls from FGM and see that what was done to me will finally cease. It is through education that we can bring FGM to an end. For this, I dedicate all my time and energy.

 

I take this opportunity to thank Gladys enormously for giving me the chance to

work for Tareto Maa and also all the sponsors from all over the world who are

supporting this wonderful project.

Helen, the day before FGM
Helen, the day before FGM

In our previous report we mentioned that Tareto Maa was having so many visitors as never before, and we promised to publish photos and testimonials of the visits. Here we go. :-)

Tareto Maa is very grateful to have received health services and education from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) students who visited Tareto Maa.

These are the testimonials from the UNR students sharing thoughts on their visit to Tareto Maa.

  • “The work being done by the leaders of Tareto Maa is really inspiring. To see a group of such amazing girls with the highest of spirits together, I would have never known they were rescued from child marriage or FGM. That alone shows Tareto Maa is doing a great job sheltering, empowering, and teaching all of the girls.” – Michael Stern
  • “Each of their (the girls’) stories is an inspiration to me and I will forever hold this experience close to my heart.” – Alyssa Workman
  • “Tareto Maa is filled with love and happiness. I have never seen so many beautiful smiles or felt more welcome. To be honest, I wish I had never left.” – Austin Porsborg
  • “My time at Tareto Maa will always remain a part of me, as it has shown me happiness in its simplest form. Despite the existence of struggle the girls have overcome the hardships of their environment and find true joy in life.” – Rachel Waddington
  • “There may be a lot of hurt in these girls’ lives, but there is also a lot of hope. The fact that Tareto Maa even exists is a blessing.” – Kellan Douglas
  • “My stay at Tareto Maa was an experience of a lifetime. In the morning we were woken up by the songs as the girls made their way to the kitchen after the cooks rang the bell. During the hot afternoons we lounged under the shade of trees and talked about anything that came up. Many of them were very excited to be going back to school and they all had high hopes to complete it.” – Helen See

 

We would like to thank

- Professor Gerold Dermid Gray and to the entire crew of UNR for visiting and supporting Tareto Maa!

- Think Kindness for their generous donation of 200 shoes for the girls at Tareto Maa!

- Happy Feet in Tampa Bay for over 50 soccer balls!

Rachel Waddington
Rachel Waddington
Katie Ferguson and Michael Stern
Katie Ferguson and Michael Stern
Alyssa Workman
Alyssa Workman
Kellan Douglas
Kellan Douglas
Helen See
Helen See
Austin Porsborg
Austin Porsborg
Tareto Maa Center, Kenya
Tareto Maa Center, Kenya

Never before Tareto Maa had so many visitors as in the previous days! The University of Nevada in Reno (UNR) is supporting us, and a Professor of UNR’s Public Health Course and 12 of his students visited Tareto Maa after Christmas. They brought presents for the children (first and foremost: shoes for school), celebrated New Year’s Eve together with the girls, and provided health services and education to Tareto Maa. The president of Tareto Maa USA, Jackie Adams, was granted a fellowship by UNR to help lead the students on this course to Kenya. Tareto Maa is very grateful for this cooperation with the UNR and looks forward to working together for the well-being of the girls in the Tareto Maa Refuge. (We will publish photos and testimonials of the visitors as soon as we received them.)

In the last three months there were some more good news to be celebrated.

Dining Hall completed – Tareto Maa’s first motorized member – A launch party in Cleveland

The Dining Hall stands complete now. Despite delays due to heavy rainfall from September to November, the floors of the dining hall are now finished. The dining hall is a great improvement for the refuge’s infrastructure. Many thanks to the Kenyan team for overseeing this construction!

Furthermore we welcomed the first motorized member of the Tareto Maa community: a motorcycle. A supporter from Germany (who also provided us with bicycles last year) fundraised for this together with family and friends in Berlin. The new motorcycle allows us to transport supplies and, when needed, make sure our girls have quick access to healthcare facilities.

Last not least, Tareto Maa USA celebrated its tax exemption status by throwing a Launch Party at Dante’s Next Door in Cleveland, Ohio. The party included a fundraiser to support the children of Tareto Maa.

A successful Christmas campaign to support the newest members of the Tareto Maa Center

In the course of 2014, an additional 22 girls took refuge at Tareto Maa. Most of the newest members of our community are orphans who were severely malnourished and had dropped out of school. To meet the challenge of financing the education of our newest members, we asked our supporters for help. In our December campaign, we raised 6,000 Euro / $7,500 to fund the education of our girls. Once again, the Tareto Maa community has risen to meet the challenges of running a refuge!

A nice view – Welcome to the neighborhood of Tareto Maa

Very often people assume that nearly all land in East Africa is aridly and dry. But the area in which Tareto Maa is located is very green! To show how Tareto Maa’s environment looks like we published a video which was taken after a walk with the girls to the top of nearby Mount Pirrar: www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1sSUzNsa5M&feature=youtu.be  

Isn’t it a beautiful rural countryside? :-)

 

We wish a happy New Year to everyone!

Thank you for your support in 2014.

We would be very happy if you accompany us also on our path in 2015.

Completing the dining hall
Completing the dining hall
Completing the dining hall
Completing the dining hall
Our new motorcycle
Our new motorcycle

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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