...providing safety and education to young Maasai women facing female genital mutilation and forced marriages....
What is "Voices of Hope"?
Voices of Hope is a non-profit organization that provides educational opportunities to vulnerable Maasai post high school young women in the Central Division of Kajiado District in Kenya.
Who are the Maasai?
Maasai people are found in southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania. They are a nomadic people who live under a communal system. They move from place to place while searching for greener pastures for their cattle. Among the Maasai rituals, ceremonies include circumcision for both boys and girls. These rituals are believed to bring elevation from childhood to adulthood. Boys becomes men, while girls become women. Boys continue their education while the girls are married off in trade for cattle.
Why is there a need for VOH?
Maasai girls are considered to be providers of family labor and targeted for the traditional practice of early marriage in order for the family to gain cattle from a dowry in exchange for their young daughters. Since young girls as young as 8 years old will leave their homes to settle in their marital homes with their husbands, (who are often older than their fathers); the families and Maasai community choose to invest in educating their sons rather than their daughters. The education of girls and young women is seen not only as a burden, but a waste of limited financial resources.
Why does the program focus on helping young women?
A study conducted by Ministry of Health in Kajiado District, Kenya in 2006 estimated that 86% of local women have no access to higher education, reproductive healthcare services and primary healthcare facilities. It was revealed that less than 6% of women are involved in decision making in their families. The study showed that some of the women who drop out of school or escape from abusive marriages engage themselves in social problems such as alcohol abuse, prostitution and inadequate labor opportunities due to lack of skills to be successfully employed. The money earned by the women is inadequate to take care of their personal needs, children and immediate family members. Many women become involved in abusive relationships, are sexually exploited and some of them even die from unsafe abortion and/or from sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. That is why we want to give young Maasai women Voices of Hope!
How has "Voices of Hope" impacted the lives of young Maasai women?
Since its establishment in 2003, Voices of Hope has supported 28 young Maasai women in meeting their education goal of pursuing higher education. These young women had no previous means of continuing their education and were in danger of going through genital mutilation and arranged marriages. As a result of the intervention of Voices of Hope, these young women are now enrolled in colleges and local universities throughout Kenya and are being empowered to become change agents and positive leaders in their community.
How will Voices of Hope impact the Maasai Community?
The young women participating in the VOH Program will undergo training in spiritual formation, leadership development, health issues, HIV/Aids, community development, micro- entrepreneurship and social skills for the period of time they are in school. Once they have gone through training and gained education and work opportunities they will be included as mentors and facilitators in future training, creating a cycle of giving back to their communities.
Sponsorship of education: $1,200 per year or ($100 per month), will provide a young woman between the ages of 18-24 with safe housing, as well as one year of tuition and fees in an
educational program of her choice. Two years of sponsorship will (in most cases) provide
enough funding for the student to complete her studies.
Drilling a borehole: Finding and collecting water is a major problem in the Kajiado district. A Maasai woman may walk five, ten or even twenty miles a day to collect water on her back for her family. It can take 10 hrs for a single trip.
Voices Of Hope is in the process of drilling a borehole on property that has been donated to the project with the goal of serving 350 families in the nearby villages and also one elementary school with 233 students. This borehole will also be the source of water for 5,000 herds of cattle, 8,000 goats and 75,000 sheep.
Safe Home: Although Kenya passed a law prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation in 2001, Kenyan authorities have been slow to respond to the resistance to end FGM, resulting in the need to establish a permanent Safe Home/Center to shelter these women.
Join "Friends of Voices of Hope": Volunteers and Fund Raisers Needed!!
Voices of Hope is a non-profit Organization that depends totally on Donors, Sponsorship and Volunteers. Without individuals who care, we would not be able to do what we do and are very appreciative of all who support our cause financially and otherwise. Many have asked how they can help. Their compassion and desire to make a difference has encouraged us to form a much needed group of support individuals that we will refer to as "FRIENDS OF VOICES OF HOPE". This special group of individuals will be made up of those who wish to actively support our Project through fund-raising and direct service to our program. If you are interested in joining "FRIENDS OF VOICES OF HOPE", please contact Theo Dobie firstname.lastname@example.org and she will help you to identify how your special gifts, talents, and abilities may best be utilized. For those of you who are action-oriented and looking for a project, consider one of the ideas listed below. Feel free to contact us if you have a fund raising idea of your own that you are willing to oversee. We are thankful for and willing to consider all possibilities.
Garage Sale Gifting:
Please consider hosting a garage sale with neighbors and friends and donate a portion or all of your earnings to the Voices of Hope Project. We will provide you with a sign to display at your event and brochures to share.
Spare Change CAN Change a Life:
Most of us have a can, jar, or dish that we throw our spare change into when cleaning out our purses or pockets. Consider donating your spare change to the Voices of Hope Project. Spare change CAN CHANGE the life a young woman in Africa.
Host a Voices of Hope Gathering - (A Party with a Purpose):
Invite Rachael Tengbom to come to your home, club, church or organization to talk about the Voices of Hope Project and share photos from her culture. Items from Africa will be made available for purchase and you will have the opportunity to learn more about how the Project is helping young women in Africa to become Servant Leaders.
____Support construction of Safe Home
____Support the Water Project
____Support Emergency Fund
____Request more Information
____Host a Voices of Hope Gathering
____Host a garage sale
____Collect spare change
____Make a Monthly Pledge Amount of:
____$25 ____$30 ____$50 ____$100 ____$200 ____$500 $______Other
For More Info. contact:
Rachael Tengbom, Founder of Voices of Hope at:
Donations may be made by visiting: http://voicesofhope-kenya.blogspot.com/
Gift Donations may also be made as a "present with a purpose".
Use this donation card that can be printed
and sent by you to an individual of your choice once you donation is complete.
A donation has been made in your honor to "Maasai Voices of Hope" .....a non-profit organization providing safety and education to young Maasai women facing female genital mutilation and forced marriages.
Voices of Hope, Founder
For more information about Voices of Hope
and our mission please visit our blogg:
or contact Rachael Tengbom personally at:
*Voices of Hope *P.O. Box 6563 *Kennewick, WA 99336