Author: Web Team
Posted: 11th October, 2012
Category: Child Sponsorship, Uncategorised No Comments
The Maasai tribe is one of the most recognisable tribes in the world, but many of the cultural practices carried out by the group continue to limit the development of young girls, and even endanger their lives.
Through the local churches in Kenya, Compassion is challenging many of these damaging traditions and is offering young girls from the Maasai tribes an opportunity to fulfil their potential.
One of the practices that Compassion Kenya is seeking to change is childhood marriage.
In Kenya, an estimated 42 per cent of girls are married before their 18th birthday. This limits their education, social and emotional development and their health. Pregnancy is the leading cause of death for girls aged 15-18 in the developing world.
Another dangerous tribal custom is female genital mutilation. In Kenya alone, 49 per cent of women are victims of this sort of mutilation and the practice is highly prevalent in the Maasai tribe.
Pauline Shonk is a 16-year-old sponsored child who won’t face early marriage thanks to a Compassion project.
“I want to shape my future so that I can be of help to myself and others. I want to be a doctor,” she explained.
Thanks to the support of her Compassion sponsor, Pauline attends the prestigious Ewaso Najile Girls School, a girls’ boarding secondary school.
Of the 267 students, 21 are Compassion sponsored girls. “Other girls [not in school] look much older than me,” continues Pauline. “They are married and have children at a young age and they face many hardships at home.”school, approximately 70km from Nairobi.
”Illiteracy and lack of exposure has dragged us behind. We have many bright girls who can compete with anyone,” says Isaac Teeka, a history teacher at the Ewaso Najile Girls School.
“This opportunity to be in school offers them that chance.”
By working through local churches who understand local traditions, Compassion can reach out to those who are in greatest need effectively and with sensitivity. It often takes many, many years to see change, which is why the local church is the best vehicle for long term development.
The landscape of rural Kenya is undoubtedly changing and with a generation of educated and confident young women, it will be better prepared for the future.
By Kate Sharma