November/December: The “circumcision season”
In the previous weeks, 25 more children came to Tareto Maa and asked for shelter. In 2010, the number of “new girls” during the circumcision season had been 43. This decrease shows that the campaigning of Tareto Maa was very successful in 2011.
Traditionally, the circumcision of girls takes place in the last weeks of a year. During this period in November/December 2010, a lot more children took refuge at Tareto Maa than we anticipated. Back then, within 6 weeks, the number of girls in the rescue center jumped up from 27 to 70. So we had to nourish and send to school a total of 70 children in 2011. But at the same time, Tareto Maa’s impact in the local community increased as well. Many neighbours and representatives of the local community started to support our relief project.The members of the Tareto Maa Group, and particularly the pastor, who holds frequent conversations within the community, observed that many people began to rethink their opinions.
That this observation was correct became evident in this year’s “circumcision season”. Many families refused to practice female mutilation. Accordingly, the number of girls who had to run for shelter declined considerably.
As 25 “new girls” arrived in the rescue center in the previous weeks, the total number of girls in the center is 95 now.
A new school: in close cooperation with the community
Some months ago, Tareto Maa proposed building a new school together with the local community. The idea was to strengthen the education in Kilgoris and to save money for Tareto Maa. Instead of sending the girls who live in the rescue center to public schools, which are quite far away and involve fees, the private school offers a better and “free” education to the Tareto Maa girls, with tuition being charged for the other children sent there by their families.
Funds for the new school were raised with public events in Transmara (fundraising events which are called “Harambee” in Kenya). In addition to that, donors from the US and Europe supported the project. With a budget of US $ 14,000 the first two classrooms were built in November and December 2011. The construction works, as well as the registration of the new school were finished in time. With a public celebration the school opened on January 9, 2012.
The name of the new school is Naitawang Riverside Acadamy. The word “Naitawang“ comes from the Maasai language and means “light of our community“. The school is seated within the area of the Tareto Maa center.
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