Meet Naishorua, a young girl who’s dreams of receiving an education are being put at risk by the fact that she is going blind in one eye

Meet Naishorua, a young girl who’s dreams of receiving an education are being put at risk by the fact that she is going blind in one eye

Meet Naishorua, a young girl who’s dreams of receiving an education are being put at risk by the fact that she is going blind in one eye. Naishorua is one of the young Maasai girls in standard three at Osoit Elementary School, a public school in Kenya. Public schools in Kenya typically aren’t well equipped to serve vision or hearing impaired children. These children often start falling behind on their learning and studies, and eventually drop out of school. Going blind in one eye, Naishorua needs an operation to save her sight. The operation only costs $421, but medical care like this is not an option for poor rural Maasai families. The money to pay for the trip to and from the hospital in Nairobi is a hardship, yet this family has managed to raise the money for the transportation as well as an additional $63. Please consider donating so that we may provide the funding for the surgery Naishorua desperately needs to...
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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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What are the traditional roles of men and women in Maasai Culture?

What are the traditional roles of men and women in Maasai Culture?

The Maasai are a strongly patriarchal society. A boy's or man's age determines the role he is to play. Every 15 years, a new generation of warriors (called Morans, or Il-moran) is initiated, including all boys 12-25 years old who have reached puberty and who did not join the previous generation of warriors. Becoming a warrior is a matter of honor and responsibility, and boys undergo several rites of passage to achieve it. One such rite of passage is the emorata, a circumcision performed without anesthetic. The boy must endure the operation in silence (as expressions of pain can bring temporary dishonor upon him) and upon completion is considered a junior warrior. The healing process takes three to four months, and the junior warrior wears black clothes and lives in a separate village, called a manyatta, for four to eight months after the ceremony. The manyatta has no circular fence protecting it, emphasizing the role the warrior will play in protecting the community. During this time, junior warriors go through several rites of...
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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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Women’s Center

Many women and girls in Africa are marginalized and have little control over their destiny. They have little influence or power over issues that directly concern them. This is particularly true of the Maasai women and girls.     To change this, Coins for Change is building a Women's Center. The Women’s Center will be a training center to learn new and necessary skills, allowing women to be more in control of their own destiny. It will have spaces for beadwork, sewing and leatherwork. It will teach women life skills such as basic literacy, how to market their handcrafted items, how to protect their families from infectious diseases, and how to stop gender discrimination. It will also have a safe house, a women’s medical clinic and a birthing center. To ensure that Maasai women and girls feel at ease in the Women’s Center, local Kenyan architect Daniel Mayabi has designed it to resemble and have the features of a Maasai Boma (village). The design can be seen...
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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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Sponsoring Children’s Education

An education is often a luxury that families can not afford The Maasai maintain a traditional pastoral lifestyle, depending on their livestock for nutrition and as a source of income to help pay for expenses such as their children’s education. The severe drought of 2009 killed 90% of their livestock, and there are now many children who cannot attend school because their parents just don’t have the money. Most Amboseli Maasai live on 35c a day. State supported schools do exist, but in Amboseli, Kenya they are usually low performing schools with class sizes of around 60 to 80 students, very few books and no computers. Quality boarding schools, on the other hand, provide children with a good education, giving them the knowledge and skills to foster more prosperous futures for themselves, their families and their communities. But at an annual cost of $500, they are out of reach for most Maasai families.   Being sponsored to a boarding school can save a Maasai...
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Real Impact. Real Change.

With your generous donations, we have been able to touch and protect the lives of many Maasai children, women and families in Amboseli, Kenya.Thank you. We couldn't have achieved this without you! Over 1,000 galla goats have been donated... ... providing families and bomas (Maasai villages) with the means to combat poverty and hunger in a sustainable manner. Read more Six bomas (Maasai villages) have been adopted... ... providing them with the cows and goats necessary to sustain and nourish them, and helping to pay school fees for village children. Read more 48 children have been sponsored into quality boarding schools... ... improving their prospects for the future and protecting the girls from FGM and early marriage. Read more 2 teacher houses have been built and $2,500 provided for school books... ... to the local village school, enabling the school to provide a better quality education for the children. Read more A Safe House has been built... ... providing women and girls in peril with a safe harbor until the dangers they face have...
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