A bit about the Maasai Girls Education Fund, from the daughter of MGEF Founder, Barbara Lee Shaw The Maasai Girls Education Fund works to raise the status of Maasai women in Kenya and end poverty by educating girls, women, and the Maasai community. Our Scholarship Program sponsors Maasai girls from primary school through university who otherwise would not be in school. Our Community Education Program holds workshops for Maasai girls, boys, women, and men to focus on the cultural practices and beliefs that keep girls out of school. We work in partnership with a Community Based Organization that we co-founded and fund. It is managed by Maasai women, and includes a network of 43 women and 14 chiefs who volunteer throughout the area where we work. Scholarships Program: Since 2000, our Scholarships Program has sponsored 179 girls from pre-school to university. Many were rescued from child marriages as young as nine years old, and one from child labor. Three key policies: NUMBER 1: Our scholarships are based on need, not merit. They go to girls like: Jane Tulasha who was discovered when she was 8 years old selling food to construction workers to earn money for her family. She had never enrolled in school. Her sisters were married off at ages 12 and 14. She is now in the eighth grade. And Emily Namunyene, whose mother died when she was ten years old. She had just completed the second grade. Her father was so old that he was unable to take care of her so she was left in the care of an older sister and her husband. Her uncle refused to send her to school and had planned to marry her off when one of the Kajiado volunteers asked MGEF to save her. She has now graduated from the University of Nairobi with a certificate in International Studies. And Reson Mpatinae who was actually married off at 9 years old. With the help of women activists, she was rescued and brought to the Kajiado Adventist School which has a shelter for girls. Reson cannot go home. She is supported by MGEF, safely enrolled in boarding school. These are just a few stories of many, many more MGEF-supported girls whose parents simply cannot afford school fees. NUMBER 2: We do not drop students for any reason. Since our scholarships are based on need, we don’t know how our students will perform in school. Many of our students struggle throughout primary and secondary school. When they are having trouble, we mentor them, we encourage them, we stay with them, and they graduate and go on to vocational schools. Some even go to colleges and universities. Without exception, every single poor-performing student has excelled in post-secondary school, and all who have graduated are employed and self-sustaining. MGEF's graduation rate from primary school is 95% (compared to 29% of Kenya's general Maasai population); MGEF's transition rate from primary to secondary school is 98% (compared to 18%); MGEF's graduation rate from secondary school is 87% (versus 8%); MGEF's transition rate from secondary to postsecondary education is 95% (versus 3%); and MGEF's graduation rate from postsecondary enrollment is 97% (compared with
I am writing this as a relative of one of the beneficiary. Through them many girls from our community get to have the chance to go to school which is not usually a priority for most parents in our community. Having being orphaned at a young age, MGEF came through with my sister's education till she graduated with a university degree.
Keep up with the good work of empowering the Masai girl child.
A remarkable charity, founded by a remarkable woman who saw an unmet need, the education of Maasai girls and young women, and resolved to do what she could to provide them with schooling and the life opportunities that education would open to them. The work is continued now by her daughter and granddaughter. This is a non-profit that has zero to do with the financial benefit or the personal fame and prestige of those who run it. This is all about helping girls and young women.
I spent a lot of time in Kenya witnessing the deeply impactful work that MGEF is doing for girls, women and their communities. I got to see the incredibly committed and passionate teams at work both at the office in Kajiado, Kenya and in Washington,D.C. They are tireless in their pursuit of continuing MGEF's vital mission. I saw young girls go from afraid, timid and out of school to strong, empowered and making top grades because of the scholarships they received from this organization. Their empowerment led to the empowerment of their communities as a whole. Amazing organization!
Barbara, Tracey, and Cassidy -- three generations of strong women making a difference in the lives of so many Maasai girls. I am proud to be associated with this group (as a sponsor). It is inspiring to see the passion and dedication of all involved in helping these girls find their voices! The smiles on the faces in Barbara's beautiful photos say it all.
This extraordinary organization was founded through the love and dedication of Barbara Shaw working with equally extraordinary Maasai leaders. I feel privileged to have met one of the 'girls' who is now training in medicine. MGEF changes lives, and through those lives improves the living conditions for all.
Back in college, I learned about the harsh realities many young women in developing countries have to face. I ultimately wrote a term paper about how education could change these young lives if the privilege could be granted to them. Fast forward a few years later to when I was introduced to this incredible organization. I was in awe of the lives they had already transformed through their sponsorship program and the overall positive ripple effect they have had on the Maasai community. MGEF has truly made a difference in the lives of these young ladies, and I am confident it will continue to do so for many others. I truly believe a pencil can change the world, and I am proud to support MGEF and its amazing mission.
Caroline is a direct beneficiary who was taken through a college and university from 2006-2013.
A graduate nurse now working with an inter national christian organization among women and children under five years.
MGEF has helped me live my dream and realize my life purpose.
The commitment of Dr. Piles and the vision of this non-profit is admirable. To see the impact and to meet the young women who have been helped by the hard work of everyone involved in this organization is very touching. I hope they get recognized, they have certainly earned it.
Great cause that changes people's perceptions and lives.
I volunteered for MGEF in the past and fell in love with its mission, and with the passion exuded by the women and men that carry out its mission. The impact that this organization directly has on girls and women in Kenya, and indirectly on their families and greater communities, is real and truly inspiring. I am now proudly serving as a member of the Board, and am excited to do what I can to further its mission.