Meet Naboye, forced to flee her home to save herself from FGM and early marriage

Meet Naboye, forced to flee her home to save herself from FGM and early marriage

Meet Naboye, who was forced to flee from her home with her mother to save herself from female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage. Naboye, one of eight siblings, grew up like so many other Maasai girls, a victim and prisoner of extreme poverty and tradition. She was able to go to school for a brief period of time and showed herself to be hardworking and determined, but she missed too many school days in order to fulfill her obligations at home, and eventually dropped out of school. Her elder brother, tasked with providing for the family after they lost their father fifteen years ago, decided to have Naboye undergo FGM and sell her into early marriage. To save herself, Naboye fled with her mother to the Coins for Change SafeHouse, where they have been under the care of Chief Mary ever since. Now, with the generosity of a Coins for Change donor, Naboye is being given a chance at a better life....
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The Safe House, a safe harbor for women and children in danger

The Safe House, a safe harbor for women and children in danger

When Maasai girls and women in the Amboseli region of Kenya feel endangered, they go to Chief Mary Kahingo. Given the number of women and girls who come seeking her help and protection, however, there is insufficient space in Chief Mary's home to accommodate them all. Coins for Change therefore built a Safe House next door to house these women and girls and provide them with a safe harbor until the dangers they face have been mitigated and they can safely return to their homes. Below are photographs of women and their children in the safe house. There are three women so far and four children whose cases are pending in court, awaiting rulings. Their cases are all similar. All three women have been subjected to domestic violence, been beaten, mistreated and neglected. ...
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Get to know the Maasai

If the reality of the Maasai people seems distant to you, you’re not alone. Most people outside of Africa are unaware of the Maasai, their customs and traditions, and the challenges they face. The chances of your having met a Maasai are rather slim as well, unless of course you’ve travelled to Kenya or northern Tanzania, areas to which they are indigenous. However distant, the Maasai share many characteristics with us. They are resilient and hard working, they have strong beliefs, values and traditions, and they have a long history with periods of prosperity and others of accentuated hardship. They are warm, and welcoming, and curious about the world abroad. The Maasai culture is steeped in tradition, dating back for many centuries. Strongly patriarchal in nature, the men are responsible for the safety of the village, developing and improving the community’s cattle stock through trades and bartering, and making all relevant political decisions. Women are responsible for all matters regarding the home,...
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Safe House

Extreme poverty, tradition and gender bias weigh heavily on Maasai families, and heavier still on Maasai girls. Girls are required to undergo FGM and most are forced into early marriage to a much older man who already has many wives. As women, they are responsible for building and repairing dung huts (their houses), fetching firewood and water, milking animals, raising children and cooking for male family members. As child brides, these girls and women are also much more likely to suffer from physical or sexual abuse by their husbands. Husbands they did not choose for themselves.   When Maasai girls and women in the Amboseli region of Kenya feel endangered, they go to Chief Mary Kahingo. They stay with her until the courts or Chiefs are able to alleviate the danger, allowing them to return to their home in safety. Given the number of women and girls who come seeking her help and protection, however, Chief Mary has run out of space at home to...
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Academy for Women’s and Girls’ Rights

Maasai women and girls have a hard life. They are responsible for building and repairing dung huts (their houses), fetching firewood and water, milking animals, raising children and cooking for male family members. Girls are required to undergo FGM and most are forced into early marriage to a much older man who already has many wives.   In 2014, Kenya passed a Marriage Law that forbids girls being married before they are 18 years old. FGM is also now illegal in Kenya. Many male Maasai chiefs, however, have refused to stop these traditional practices and have not informed women and girls about the new laws protecting their rights. FGM is a rite of passage that marks a Maasai girl’s transition to womanhood and her readiness to marry, regardless of age. The culture of FGM and early marriage is so ingrained in the Maasai that it leaves little room for external influence and makes it difficult to introduce and accomplish social change. Unless women and girls...
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Meet the Leadership Team

Founder and Chief Executive Director Kathleen McIntire In 2007, the founder of Coins for Change, Kathleen McIntire, sponsored a young Kenyan girl so that she could attend a good boarding school. In 2008, she agreed to help another foundation raise funds by walking 100 kilometers across the Kenyan savanna ending up in a place just under Mt. Kilimanjaro called Amboseli. Each person on the walk had a Maasai Warrior for protection. Kathy's warrior lived in Amboseli and showed her the part of Amboseli that tourists do not see. She found few schools, and very poor and hungry children. She also found a deep-rooted inequality between the sexes that constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against girls and women. Kathleen returned to Amboseli three months later to meet with the Maasai leadership to see how she could help. A Maasai Advisory Board was formed to give her guidance, and Coins for Change was established.   Project Manager Linda Sullivan Linda first traveled to Kenya in 2008, where she met Kathy, as she also sponsored the education...
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What makes us Different

Coins for Change has a Maasai Advisory Board that helps direct our efforts and maximize the impact of our projects and donations Coins for Change established and maintains a very strong relationship and open dialogue with Maasai chiefs in the Amboseli region of Kenya. It is through this close connection to the Maasai people that Coins for Change has seen, up close, the key issues perpetuating this vicious cycle and has been able to develop targeted and effective projects to address them. The collaboration with the Maasai chiefs and people is such that Coins for Change actually has three Maasai chiefs, two Maasai elders and one Maasai Midwife on their Advisory Board. In fact, the first and only Maasai woman chief in all of Kenya, Chief Mary Kahingo, sits on the Advisory Board of Coins for Change. No less important is the fact that all Coins for Change volunteers are locals and members of the Maasai tribe.   Coins for Change donors can see the...
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Our Work

Coins for Change has five donation-based focus areas, all of which address the key issues identified with our Maasai Advisory Board. Sponsoring Children’s Education. Being sponsored into a quality boarding school helps protect Maasai girls from forced FGM and early marriage, and provides them with three meals a day and a good education. These girls tend to marry later in life and foster healthier and more prosperous conditions for their families and communities. Read more. Alleviating poverty. In 2009, Kenya had a severe drought that killed 90% of the Maasai’s livestock. Most Amboseli Maasai now live on 35c a day. Donating a goat to a family gives them a sustainable source of nutrition and income, as the goat’s milk can be consumed or exchanged for other much-needed items. Read more.   Building a Safe House. When Maasai girls and women are endangered in Amboseli, Kenya, they run to Chief Mary Kahingo. The Safe House is being built next to Chief Mary’s home and will protect the women and girls until the courts...
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