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
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.
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.
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.
MGEF is a fantastic organization. I have had the unique and rewarding opportunity to be one of the sponsors of a wonderful young woman who will shortly be the first Maasai female physician. The organization is very well run and Barbara would be proud of her daughter and the others who are continuing the legacy of improving the lives of the Maasai girls and their families. Can't recommend them enough!
I attended a fundraiser for this wonderful organization and was very impressed at their mission and effectiveness. Educating these young women not only creates opportunity for each individual girl, it also brings economic resources back to their families and community. But on some level I was most impressed by the accounts of how the success of these girls have been able to change deeply embedded cultural gender biases that limit the role of women. We hear a lot of talk from governments and big organizations about the need to empower women in places where cultural and religious practices relegate women to subservient roles. This grassroots organization appears to be doing not talking; effecting change on the level that really works, one person, one family, one village at a time.
I also like how my modest donation goes such a long way. I feel like I'm having a direct impact on real people. I can follow these girls progress and see tangible results. I find this so much more satisfying than the more anonymous experience of donating to a huge organization where I never am sure how my contribution is used.
The Maasai Girls Education Fund (MGEF) has always been a source of inspiration. It's mission is clear and elegantly simple: to equip Maasai girls with knowledge and awareness so they can take control of their lives and reach for opportunities not otherwise available to them. By empowering others, MGEF can lay claim to the many benefits that follow, with the girls whose lives it enriches finding so many ingenious ways to give back to their families, their communities, their country, and, indeed, the world. But in keeping with the spirit of its founder, the late Barbara Shaw, the MGEF is quick to let the girls it educates get all the credit; throughout Barbara's inspired life, it was reward enough to see the intelligent spark in the eyes of those whose education the MGEF had provided. Yet the time has come to grant the MGEF the recognition it has long deserved -- as one of the most thoughtful and truly extraordinary non-profit organizations one can find.
The many years we spent sponsoring a little girl from 3rd grade through high school was a very satisfying experience. The work of MGEF is so valuable in this world where education is the answer to so many problems. Kudos to MGEF and thank you for the opportunity to enrich our lives.
We have enjoyed sponsoring a student from 2nd grade through high school.
It was a satisfying experience for our family and what we have learned through this experience has changed our lives.