2019 November Newsletter – FGM reduction and Secondary Education for Girls

WTWT NEWSLETTER                  November 2019

 

 

Dear Loyal Supporters

 

I’m writing from Tanzania where we have come to see our projects.

 

Health Education Programme (HEP)

This time we were fortunate to be able to visit SAFE Maa (Sponsored Arts For Education). It is just over the order in Kenya, where they are working with Maasai communities to end FGM.

WTWT staff and the women who have led their villages to FGM Abandonment Ceremonies

We were really inspired by SAFE Maa’s work and were able to share ideas and meet their dedicated staff and many of the amazing women who have worked in their villages, leading to ceremonies of FGM Abandonment. After songs and dramas, they have workshops and home visits to discuss the issues and lead the way towards abandonment.

Back in Ngorongoro we saw our own Health Education programme in action, funded with the generous support of the Women’s Microfinance Initiative (WMI). The afterschool health club performed a drama and a song about stopping FGM. The words to the song were that FGM gives a big problem to girls, that it causes scarring, difficulty in childbirth, health complications and even death.

Their drama was about a girl being cut. She lost a lot of blood and they carried her to hospital, but tragically she died. They acted the wailing of grief of the girl’s Mum. It gave a very powerful message to all watching. The school pupils were calling upon the audience of parents and teachers to help them stop this deeply held but dangerous practice.

Wonderful to have the young people themselves joining in this challenging work.

The After-School Health Club Song and Dance

 

Adult Numeracy and Literacy classes

We run these classes to support the women with loans who find it hard keeping their business records, not having had the benefit of education. They have been very receptive and learnt very quickly to read and write enough Swahili to find running their businesses much easier. One woman describes how much these classes have helped her in other ways:

 

Miriam Paulo

                                                      

‘My name is Miriam Paulo, 22 years old. I’m one of WTWT/WMI loan and adult education classes program beneficiary for the year of 2018-2019.

I’m very happy to narrate and share with others the way this program helped me learn how to write   counting mathematic digits as well as speak and write Swahili vowel and consonant words.

I had not got a chance to attend to primary school, I was busy helping my parents to look after cows, sheep and goats before I got married.

When I was married, my husband went to Mwanza for the work. After five months he decided to take me where he was working to see and stay with him for the little while. One day I went to fetch water at the water taps after my husband went to the workplace. The time I came back from the water tap I lost the total direction because I was still strange with the area and I don’t know how to speak Swahili, and no one knows Maasai language for the natives of that particular place. After losing the way I went around the town for almost six hours with my bucket of water and one of the residents of the area calls my husband at work to inform him that am roaming around with a bucket of water.

My husband came very faster and meets me while I’m trembling with fear. We went to our home and insisted me not to be out of the gate alone; also he asked same of neighbours to take care of me on his absence.

When I came back from Mwanza I heard of WTWT/WMI adult education classes when Nemburis explaining. I humbly speak to her to enquire whether if I can get a chance to join with the class. She was impressed with my willing and took me direct to the class where I got registered and attending the class with other classmate following class timetable. Therefore, I’m now free confident and independent because I can read, write and speak Swahili, I can now speak to anyone without needing other persons assistance. Sometimes you expose your personnel issues because of the language the barriers.

My advice or request to my fellow women who face this problem: you need to take quick measures, first register your children to school both boys and girls. Finally join yourself with WTWT adult classes, you will be free and fill confident everywhere either on your business place or on antenatal visit whenever it’s required.’

 

On my visit they held a graduation ceremony for these women. It was very heart-warming to see them with their certificates. We are very grateful for the generous funding from WMI, not only for the ongoing successful loans and health education but also for these classes.

 

Numeracy and Literacy Class graduates

 

 

Secondary School Education

Wonderfully we also have increased funding this year from several generous donors which has enabled us to fund more girls to secondary school.

Many of these girls came to us because their parents could not afford the expenses of secondary school. The only option their parents could offer them was to be ‘cut’ (FGM) and have a marriage arranged for them. In these situations, the girls are soon bearing children whilst still in their teens. The girls and their parents did not want this and were so grateful for our funding enabling them to continue their education and delay marriage and childbearing.

Secondary school education for girls is known to raise the age of marriage and parenthood, reduce family sizes and to enable those families to be able to afford to educate and feed their own children. This is very effective in breaking the cycle of poverty and deprivation.

We heard from the parents of one of the girls that WTWT funded, who had no cow to sell for her continuing education: “Amani was so humble because she had no hope at all, did not expect any one to fund”. She is now doing very well in secondary school.

Microfinance Loans

On this visit we went to meet people in the Maasai villages around Mto wa Mbu. We found just as much poverty here as within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). Some of the problems are different in that there are no restrictions on agriculture outside the NCA but the land is often too dry for their cattle to graze and they have to be taken far away. The challenges they have in common are lack of education amongst the adults, poverty making it difficult to send their children to school, poor nutrition, poor health and lack of economic opportunities.

The communities were very keen to have microfinance loans and to set up their own VICOBA groups. We are going to look into the feasibility of extending our work into this area.

 

Mother from Mto wa Mbu village wanting to set up a VICOBA group

 

 

Children from Mto wa Mbu village

Internship

On this visit I was accompanied by Clare Engenoi Smyth our new intern who is studying for a BA in Anthropology at Exeter University. She is Maasai and grew up in Kenya and has a great insight into the Maasai culture. It is wonderful to have her with us. Clare’s area of interest is our loans programme and working with the women to encourage their entrepreneurship, particularly with their traditional beading. We visited several groups of women’s beading at cultural bomas near their homes. Back in the UK Clare has been sourcing potential outlets for their work, where the cultural ethnic value will be recognised financially as well as artistically. Following graduation Clare plans to work supporting women with their entrepreneurship in East Africa.

 

 

Clare with local entrepreneurs

We are hugely grateful for all your financial support and your encouragement of our work. Without you we could not do any of this.

As always, our flights and administration are paid by ourselves, so all of your donations go directly to the community projects.

With much love and thanks

 

Rachel and WTWT trustees here in the UK and staff in Tanzania:

Rachel, David and Daniel Blackmore, Tim Shewbridge, Ruth Cornish, Suchita Raja, Viv Pangalos and Helen Williams in the UK

Ponja Tayai, Embapa Oloishiro, Mbario Lemomo, Sunguyo Sindiyo and Sandei Kinjanjui in Tanzania.

If any more of you would like to make a donation or set up a standing order, we would be extremely grateful, as would the people in Ngorongoro.

Our bank account is: ‘Weston Turville Wells for Tanzania’ at Lloyds TSB, account number:  00087400, sort code 30-90-38. Cheques can be made payable to ‘WTWT’ and posted to our address.

Weston Turville Wells for Tanzania (WTWT)

Registered UK charity No: 1125141

Registered office: Old Crown, West End, Weston Turville, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP22 5TT

Email: racheljblackmore@gmail.com

Phone: +447792 475094

www.wellsfortanzania.org

Weston Turville Wells for Tanzania (WTWT)