Get to know the Maasai

The Maasai Culture The Maasai are possibly one of Kenya's most famous ethnic groups, made easily recognizable by their bright red robes and colorful beadwork. 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 noble, warm, and welcoming, and curious about the world abroad. Once a warrior tribe, they were respected and feared by all other tribes in Kenya. In the late 1800's, however, tragedy befell the Maasai: smallpox wiped out a large part of the Maasai population, a pest killed off much of their cattle, and severe droughts aggravated all of these losses. British colonizers arrived in the area around this time and forced the weakened Maasai tribe to relinquish their land, moving them to smaller reserves in semi-arid regions. Land accessible to them has since been further restricted by the formation of the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti Game Reserves, which are...
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Safe House

Safe houses provide Maasai girls and child brides with a shelter from danger Almost 90% of Maasai girls undergo female genital mutilation (FGM). Every day, Maasai girls are forced into FGM and early marriage. It is a heartbreaking reality, a vicious cycle that perpetuates itself generation after generation because of tradition, perceived gender roles and poverty. 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. Too often, girls run away from their homes when they are in imminent risk of forced FGM or early marriage, and child brides run away from their husbands because of physical or sexual abuse at home. When Maasai girls and women in the Amboseli region of Kenya feel endangered, they go to Chief Mary Kahingo Chief Mary Kahingo is the first and only female Maasai chief in Kenya. Maasai girls look up to her and go to her in...
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Community Workshops

Community workshops bring permanent positive social change through coordination and consensus Widespread and permanent renouncement of female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage comes about through a process of positive social change. Community workshops focus on driving this process. They engage all groups of a community in discussion and debate, and drive the discussion of uncomfortable topics directly related to the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage. They focus on shifting the social norms that sustain the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage, and establishing new social norms. Finally, they enable communities to reach a collective decision to stop these practices, and make a public and explicit commitment to them. At Coins for Change, we believe that solutions led by the community are more likely to be effective and have lasting social impact. Social norms change definitively when a community sees the benefit of changing, and not when they are punished for not doing so. Therein lies the power of...
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Sponsoring Girls’ Education

School enrollment amongst the Maasai is very low Free primary public schools were introduced in Kenya in 2003 and have had a significant impact on school enrollment at the national level. Amongst the Maasai, however, school enrollment remains low. Less than 20% of Maasai girls enroll in school. Of those who do, less than one in five finish primary school, significantly less go to secondary school, and only a very few make it to university. This drop out rate is exacerbated by the fact that there are no public secondary schools, and private schools are prohibitively expensive for most Maasai families. But why are enrollment rates so low to begin with? And why are drop out rates in primary school so high? 1. Economic Costs: Private boarding schools are prohibitively expensive for most Maasai families. Public elementary schools in Kenya don’t charge tuition fees, but do require families to provide school uniforms for their children. Even this cost can be prohibitive for the Maasai,...
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Vision and Mission

Our VISION A world in which every Maasai child has the freedom and opportunity to create a better future for themselves.   Our MISSION To rescue poor, marginalized Maasai children in Amboseli, Kenya, by putting an end to female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage and providing the children with the education, resources and freedom to make a better future for themselves.   Our APPROACH We are committed to putting an end to female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage, but understand that we must work with the Maasai community to effect lasting change. We therefore collaborate closely with the Maasai to generate solutions that are impactful in the short term and create lasting positive change in the long term. We encourage them to preserve their culture and their traditions, but to see the harm in practices like female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage, and the social and economic benefits of abandoning them. SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave ...
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Our Work

To rescue Maasai girls from female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage, we need to address the three root causes that sustain and drive these harmful practices: extreme poverty, lack of opportunity to get an education, and traditional social norms.   We Have a Solution. And it works. We focus on effective, sustainable programs that produce immediate and long term mission-critical impact. We tackle the three key root causes of female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage. We work closely with the Maasai community and have a local advisory board constituted entirely by Maasai. By tackling the root causes of female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage with solutions that address long term needs while acknowledging immediate critical needs, and by working closely with the Maasai community, we can bring an end to FGM and early marriage, and give Maasai girls real hope and opportunities for a better future. Our Programs Become a part of something bigger! Help give Maasai girls the opportunity and freedom to gain...
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About Us

Coins for Change Coins for Change is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization committed to saving the lives and futures of poor, marginalized Maasai children in the Amboseli region of Kenya, by putting an end to female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage and providing the children with the education, resources and freedom to make a better future for themselves. Our main emphasis is on protecting Maasai girls who are being forced into female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage. Focusing solely on stopping these practices without addressing their root causes, however, only helps a child in the short run. It does nothing to address the underlying causes of the issue. The current reality is a vicious cycle that perpetuates itself generation after generation because of tradition, perceived gender roles and poverty.   SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave Real Lives. Real Impact. Real Change. In order to make a real impact and drive real change, Coins for Change focuses on programs that tackle the root causes of female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage.   SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave Join us today and...
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