From the community. For the community. With supporters worldwide
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We run information campaigns on child health and child rights and aim to overcome the outdated traditions of female genital mutilation and forced marriages within the Maasai community.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.
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.
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.