Between 2006 and 2008, our friend Joanne (who was gifted with the name Noorkiramat...'the one who cares'...by her village friends) lived in the small Maasai village of Longido, in Northern Tanzania.
Over time she came to be aware of the plight of young Maasai schoolgirls who had become pregnant, and were therefore expelled from the government school system (for life, under current Tanzanian law).
These girls, having had an opportunity to attend secondary school, usually with sponsorship support to make that possible, found themselves with all dreams crushed...their future limited to a return to their home village and a traditional forced marriage to an older man of their father's choosing.
Working with a Canadian charity called Sauti Moja (“One Voice” in Swahili), Noorkiramat founded a new, multi-faceted program for the region.
It provides: short-term housing and counselling for girls who are expelled from school; family counsel by local Maasai elders who encourage families NOT to force early marriage; funding for girls to return to school within the more expensive non-government system; medical supports; support of lobbying efforts for legal reform; and a Sexual and Reproductive Health education program for girls and boys in local schools.
For more details, visit: www.sautimoja.org/EdGirls.html#tanzania
The program has been well received in the region, and has restored hope and the possibility of a brighter future, to numerous girls and their babies.
Would you be so kind as to help support our efforts.