|Dear Tracey L,
With your help, MGEF is sending 110 Maasai girls and young women back to school this fall, students who otherwise would not have a chance at education. We now support 26 Maasai girls in primary school, 31 in secondary school, and 30 girls in post-secondary education.
We are especially proud of our record number of MGEF young women attending university programs this year. A total of 23 students are pursuing degrees in Medicine, Nursing, International Studies, Tourism, and Education.
Our newest little girl, 9-year old Mercy Leina Swakei, started at the AIC Kajiado School this spring. Mercy’s older sister was forced to marry at age 15, and Mercy’s mother brought her to our MGEF office in Kajiado to rescue her from a similar fate. New MGEF sponsors have generously stepped in to assist with her education, and we are all very proud of her hard work.
Mercy (above, center) says: “I’m so excited to be a part of the MGEF family and already feel like the other MGEF students are my sisters because they are helping me with my studies."
We are also thrilled to celebrate Purity Sintama Melita
(right), who has been with MGEF since we started in 2000. Purity has been accepted to the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies at the University of Nairobi for a degree in International Studies.
Community Education is Key
As a member of the group, one is allowed to borrow from the group and repay with a small interest. I started borrowing to buy building materials--iron sheets, nails, and three bags of cement. Through my savings and the money borrowed I was able to put a small house for us. My new house is small but decent because it’s not leaking during the rains. I am happy that I have something to show off my hard work."
Ensuring girls have access to education is one challenge; keeping them in school is another. MGEF’s Community Education Program (CEP) provides life-skills workshops to end forced marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and other forms of violence against women, as well as reduce teen pregnancy and the spread of HIV, all significant factors preventing Maasai girls from getting an education. Our culturally-respectful workshops led by local MGEF staff and facilitators are held for girls, boys, men and women throughout Kajiado County.
The need for our workshops is especially pressing today. Large-scale protests have been held against anti-FGM activists throughout Kajiado. (For more, see www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28140385
). Fortunately, over the last decade, our MGEF staff and facilitators have become trusted members of the community. Many students and their families rely on us for accurate information to increase their community’s understanding of the issues that impact girls’ education.
Our CEP includes Women’s Business Training Workshops for rural Maasai women who have little or no education and live in extreme poverty. In our program, participants become self-sufficient and are better able to educate their children, provide health care and nutrition for their families, and protect themselves from violence. Nasupat Lemomo
explains the powerful impact:
“My name is Nasupat Lemomo, a mother of five. We relocated to Ilbissil town with my family after a long time of suffering in the village. My children were not going to school because of lack of school fees and uniforms. I made a choice to move with them to Ilbissil town where we were staying in a small mud hut. After attending an MGEF Women’s Business Training, I started a small business selling Maasai shuka [traditional Maasai fabric]. Since this time, my life has never been the same again. I was given a loan for my business as well as knowledge on how to operate my business better. During the training, I learned to save for future use as well as keeping business records. I also joined a group of other Maasai women and we advise each other and share experiences. I started saving with the group as well as an individual through my home bank.
Invest in Girls' Education on October 15
Please consider a contribution to MGEF in honor of the United Nations International Day of the Girl. The Day of the Girl focuses on girls’ rights, highlights gender inequalities, and addresses discrimination suffered by girls around the globe, all issues at the core of MGEF’s own mission. A contribution on October 15th between 9am-11pm EDT will be matched by an additional 30% by our friends at Global Giving.
Since 2000, MGEF has supported the education and changed the lives of 136 girls. Our Life Skills Workshops have reached over 9,000 Maasai girls, boys, men and women, and almost 200 women have benefited from MGEF’s Women’s Business Training Workshops. Thank you for continuing to support us as we expand our reach, improve girls' access to education, and promote the literacy, health and economic well-being of Maasai women in Kenya.
As our wise MGEF alumna, Caroline Senteu, has said: “Now that I already have education, that is when they are coming to see that it is important. It can really make a difference, not only today, not only to us who are educated, but to the whole Maasai community