Six Maasai girls in Kenya and Tanzania who couldn’t afford a formal education have completed secondary school and have entered college, thanks to The Maasai Girls’ Education Initiative, a joint project of New York-based non-profit organizations Brighter Green and Tribal Link, in partnership with three indigenous non-governmental organizations–Parakuiyo Pastoralists Indigenous Community Development Organization (PAICODEO) in Tanzania, and Simba Maasai Outreach Organization (SIMOO) and the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) in Kenya.
Members of the Masaai tribe are marginalized in East Africa; only one out of a thousand Maasai children goes on to a secondary education after primary school, and most of them are boys. Girls marry early and begin bearing children. The Initiative, which sends the girls to boarding schools pays all their school fees and living expenses and offers intensive mentoring, aims to develop the girls’ skills, knowledge, environmental awareness, and confidence so that as adult women they will be successful leaders in their communities and effective advocates for indigenous peoples and the environment at the international level. Achieving this is particularly urgent because climate change and the effects of globalization are felt more intensely by indigenous communities around the world. In order for the girls to enter the program, their families had to pledge to refrain from subjecting them to female genital mutilation or arranging an early marriage.
All of the girls are now working in different fields, yet they all have acquired the necessary tools to persevere. Anne has been selected by the Kenyan Wildlife Service (one of only two women in all of Kenya) to study Community Wildlife Management. Both Sabina and Hellen are completing their Bachelors’ of Science in Gender & Development in order to improve the lives of women in their countries. Kakenya is studying Communications and Journalism with the aim of giving voice to her Community. Elizabeth is pursing a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and has a particular interest in climate change and its effects on indigenous populations. Rehema and Martha are both studying Community Development as a way to promote the rights of women.
We have created an external website for this program; visit it here.