Editor’s note: Clark resident Mary Walker volunteers at the Tasaru Girls Rescue Centre in Narok, Kenya. The center was built in 2002 and provides a safehouse for Maasai girls who have escaped or been rescued from female genital mutilation and forced childhood marriage. Walker’s updates from Kenya appear periodically in the Steamboat Today.
Today, four years after starting this effort with little more than the best wishes of friends and family along with financial support from a few philanthropic and trusting women from my local community in Steamboat Springs, there now are several young women from Tasaru who have completed or are pursuing college and university programs in Kenya with the assistance of our program. Others have found assistance through networks they established through this project.
These young women are confronting unique and significant challenges in realizing their dreams to go to college and gain marketable job skills and training so they may finally succeed in achieving economic independence. This economic independence is one of the most significant factors in battling the economic forces affecting the Maasai community in Kenya that perpetuate female genital mutilation and child marriage. I am proud of each of them as they struggle with the bureaucratic hurdles of the education system in Kenya, with lifestyle changes of living in large cities rather than their familiar, rural homes and, perhaps, with the continued resistance and resentment of their families.
■ Janet Semerian Pere completed her coursework at Kericho Teachers College in 2010, is teaching under a government contract in Nkoilale Primary School in her home area near Maasai Mara and is continuing her education for a diploma in early childhood development at Limuru Teachers College during holidays.
■ Purity Rinka completed her studies at Dicece Preschool Teachers Training School this year, is teaching in a preschool in her home area and is continuing her education for a diploma in early childhood development at Limuru Teachers College during holidays.
■ Susan Karbolo completed her accounts certificate training at Kenya Polytechnic College and now is moving into the CPA program at Vision Technical School in Nairobi.
■ Carolyne Lato Gilisho is starting her second year at University of Nairobi for a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.
■ Florence Taki has just enrolled at Asumbi Teachers College.
■ Nailois Kamwaro has enrolled in the information technology program at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology/Nakuru CBD Campus.