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Review for Maasai Girls Education Fund, Washington, DC, USA

Rating: 5 stars   Featured Review

My mother, Barbara Lee Shaw, founded the Maasai Girls Education Fund (MGEF) in 2000. She died of cancer in 2013, and I, an Emergency Physician in the Washington, DC area, am proud to inherit the honor of her legacy.
MGEF primarily puts Maasai girls and young women through school who would otherwise not have a chance at education. Most would instead be forced into early marriage (we have rescued girls as young as nine years old from marriage). Our mission is to improve the literacy, health, and economic well-being of Maasai women in Kenya and their families through the education of girls and their communities. To this end, we also conduct Maasai Community and Women's Business Training Workshops (which include start-up loans), but our first commitment is to sponsoring Maasai girls in school. We support our students in all ways, and we see them through to the highest level of achievement their abilities and ambition allow.
All MGEF scholarships are purely need based, and we currently have more than 100 girls in school. Since 2000, we have graduated nearly 50 more--strong, young Maasai women now, and role models for others as they return to their communities to work as teachers, nurses, and business owners, to name a few of their chosen professions. Many more scholarship students are on the verge of their own graduations and success. One MGEF scholarship recipient for the last 9 years, for example, is about to enter her final year of medical school at the University of Nairobi School of Medicine. Another young Maasai woman, supported by MGEF since 2002, has just started law school, also in Nairobi, Kenya.
I am proud of my mother, her life's work, and all she created in MGEF that inspires and helps others become all they can be and that they deserve the chance to become. Barbara Shaw loved her Maasai sisters, her daughters, her friends--and, in making her vision my own, I am committed to keeping MGEF the personal, just, efficient, culturally respectful, and incredibly effective organization she created it to be.

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Help it grow and to share its effective model with other communities where girls' education is still a challenge to achieve.

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Role:  Board Member

Review for Maasai Girls Education Fund, Washington, DC, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with MGEF as a donor since it started more than a decade ago, and never has money been better spent. I have met the girls who benefit from MGEF sponsorship, and seen them change from shy, deferential girls into strong, confident, self-empowered young women who believe in themselves. Thanks to MGEF's efforts, Maasai mothers are seeing their daughters respected and admired for their abilities, their independence, their education--for qualities they themselves never believed possible for a woman in their society. Younger sisters and neighbors have role models in the young women MGEF has supported. Even fathers who once refused to speak to daughters who ran away and were sheltered in schools paid for by MGEF are now seeing the benefits of educating their daughters, as their daughters return to their Maasai communities and provide for their families financially in amounts never previously equaled. These same fathers who once were ashamed of their daughters for seeking an education are now commanding their sons to educate their daughters! Because of the Maasai Girls Education Fund's vision and commitment, many, many lives are changing for the better. I will continue to support the MGEF's mission without question, and recommend it to anyone wanting to help make a real difference in the world.

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Role:  Donor