Rescue Center for children in Kilgoris, Kenya

Fighting against female genital mutilation and forced child marriages

Tareto Maa supports girls who had to flee from genital mutilation and forced marriages. We want to offer a new home to these children, a home where they are safe and can go to school together with other children from the community.

Project Video

Who we are

From the community. For the community. With supporters worldwide

Tareto Maa protects girls from genital mutilation and forced marriages

Tareto Maa is a grass-roots project, in the best sense of the word: founded by members of the local community and working for change within the community. The relief project is seated in Kilgoris (Rift Valley, Kenya). In the meantime it has supporters and support groups worldwide: in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Australia.

We run information campaigns on child health and child rights and aim to overcome the outdated traditions of female genital mutilation and forced marriages within the Maasai community. It is our committed belief that children have a right to education, to a healthy life, and to a safe environment. This is what we stand for.

Gladys Kiranto, Chairwoman of Tareto Maa

Tareto Maa was founded in 2009 by Gladys Naing’olai Kiranto, who suffered genital mutilation as a young Maasai girl herself. “Tareto” is a word from the Maasai language and means “help”, the word “Maa” is short for “Maasai”. So the name means: “Help for the Maasai”. The local pastor is a member of our community based project and acts as a contact person for the public – which is very important, because the church is respected as a moral authority in rural Kenya.

 

A terrible cut in the name of tradition

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and forced marriages of children are outlawed worldwide. Nevertheless they are still being practiced in rural regions of East Africa, in particular in the Maasai people. Here, it is a tradition to take girls from school when they are between 11 and 13 years old, and to circumcise them without any anaesthetic or medical supervision.

Maasai girl with traditional decoration

The ritual is incredibly painful. Many of the girls pass out, bleed to death or die due to infection. For those who survive, school attendance ends and they are sold as a bride to a man, who in most cases is much older than they are.

 

FGM and forced marriages mutilate the bodies and souls of the girls in our community. This is what we are fighting against with all of our energy.

 

 These cruel practices violate childrens’ rights as they are defined in:

  • the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and
  • the Children’s Act of Kenya.

See what we do to fight against FGM and forced marriages in our community.

Supporting the children of our community

 

What we do

Giving shelter to girls in danger and running campaigns for child health

Einige der Kinder bei Tareto Maa
Some of the children at Tareto Maa Rescue Center

Our relief project provides support to girls who refuse to be circumcised or married without their consent. We protect these girls. We talk to their parents. We try to find a solution for the children, working closely with the civil society in Kilgoris, the local congregation of the African Inland Church, and the local authorities.

If a girl does not want to be circumcised, she can ask Tareto Maa for help. The pastor and other team members will try to convince the parents not to have the girl cut, but rather send her to school. But in some cases a family refuses and casts out their daughter. Tareto Maa has set up a rescue center for these children in need. If no mutual solution within the family can be found, Tareto Maa registers the girl at the local police station (the police help to protect her), and admits her to the rescue center. Tareto Maa takes care of the costs for food, clothes, and education. Furthermore we shelter orphans from the local community, and provide a new home to them.

Due to the help of many supporters from the community but also from a lot of countries worldwide, we were able to build houses for the rescue center, and complete it with a water supply, two solar modules, a security fence, and a bridge. At present, we are sheltering 122 girls in the Tareto Maa Center.

The group’s campaigning focuses on the region where Tareto Maa is seated: Osupuko, Kilgoris and the surrounding area. We inform the public about child rights, child health and general issues of sexual and reproductive health. Members of the group go into schools as well as into community assemblies, and explain the injuries resulting from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and the importance of school education for girls. They distribute information brochures (written in Swahili), and offer personal talks to inform about health and HIV/AIDS.

Naitawang Riverside Academy

Naitawang: “Light of the community”

Together with the local community we founded a primary school which opened in January 2012. The name of the new school is Naitawang Riverside Academy. The word “Naitawang“ comes from the Maasai language and means: “Light of the community“.

The idea of the school is to strengthen education in Kilgoris and to reduce expenses for Tareto Maa. Instead of sending the girls of Tareto Maa to public schools, which are quite far away and involve fees, the private school offers a better and “free” education to the Tareto Maa girls, charging tuition for the other children sent there by their families.

Plans and hopes for the future

What happens if the girls from the Tareto Maa Rescue Center graduate in school? What can they do then to make a living? To help the girls in an enduring and sustainable way, Tareto Maa plans to set up a training center, offering courses on computer skills, and office work. Furthermore we want to establish basic medical care for the community. At the moment, the nearest doctor is 4 hours away!

Giving a future to the children in our community

It is a very realistic possibility that FGM in Kilgoris and the surrounding villages can be overcome in a period of three to five years. The team in Kenya already observes that the people are starting to rethink the traditions of circumcision and child marriage. This is due to our work in the community. But it is also due to government bodies which are increasing the pressure to abandon FGM. As soon as we conquer FGM in our area, we want to join forces to overcome it as well in other villages in Transmara, and the Kenyan Rift Valley.

 

 

For our work of sheltering the girls in the rescue center, providing community services, and expanding our campaigns for child health, we need your help. Please take action and support us.

Millennium Development Goals

We are committed to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG), and with our work particularly support the goals

  • to achieve universal primary education (MDG 2)
  • to promote gender equality and to empower women (MDG 3)
  • to reduce child mortality (MDG 4)
  • and to combat HIV/AIDS, and other diseases (MDG 6)