The Bride Rescue Project provides education and help to girls who are rescued from being married at a very young age, which is an acceptable tradition in some regions of the country. Those who marry at a young age are not allowed to finish school, but expected to take care of households. These women are also sometimes survivors of female circumcision which can often result in early child births and childbirth complications. The program helps these women work on their self-esteem and also provides them with educational opportunities.
According to the Maasai Girls’ Education Fund, there are many factors that combine to deny education to Maasai girls in Kenya and “taken together, make almost impossible for all but the most determined girls to overcome.”
One of the key reasons why Maasai girls are married off at a young age comprises economic incentives, including increasing the family’s wealth through combined cattle & cash dowries, as well as joining the husband’s family, which relieves her father’s family of financial burdens. At the same time, many Maasai families do not wish to cover the costs of education in Kenya, which mostly include purchasing uniforms and school supplies, for girls, opting instead to support their boys’ education.
I. New dorm
With financial support from the spouses of several European Union high commissioners and ambassadors to Kenya, a new dorm was built and inaugurated in July 2013, which can accommodate 60 girls. The dorm has two solar-powered borehole pumps to provide the girls fresh water for drinking and bathing purposes.
The pumps have enabled the creation of a greenhouse and a small garden to produce fresh vegetables and other farm products to bring down the cost of food for the girls.
II. Brick-Making Project
The brick-making initiative was initially started through the help of IPM in 2008.
The intention was to assist the Maasai women in Kajiado to have an income-generating activity of brick-making and sell to people living in nearby communities, in order to ensure the school’s sustainability and financial independence.
However, the project did not pick immediately, as, at that time, the market was very low and the women could not use the brick-making machine themselves, but instead they would had to hire men to do the work. In the following years, the women started renting out the machine to individuals and groups that needed to make biogas chambers, homes, and outdoor restrooms. The Project is also hoping to use the brick making machine to build classrooms and a biogas chamber.
III. Projections & Goals
The Project is currently looking for additional funding in order to be able to pay schools & living fees, as well as transportation for more girls. Secondly, it is aiming to expand the farming activities and garden projects, in order to help fight the food shortage, especially when school is closed and the girls stay in the Rescue Center.