She returned to her village to improve the lives of Maasai girls
Kakenya Ntaiya had always dreamed of becoming a teacher. When she was five years old, her future husband was chosen. When she was 12 years old, she was prepared to undergo the traditional female genital mutilation (FGM) to get married and then drop out of school. Her dream of becoming a teacher was now out of reach. Against all odds, she managed to convince her father to let her continue her education, as long as she underwent the circumcision.
Kakenya finished school, won a scholarship for university studies in the US, did a Ph.D., and got a job at the UN in New York. She decided to travel back to her village to give other young girls a chance to study. She founded a school –Kakenya’s Centre for Excellence, a boarding school for Maasai girls where they receive an education in a safe environment, without the risk of undergoing FGM. The tradition of circumcising girls to then marry them off is deeply rooted within the Maasai community, where as few as half of the girls go to school. Kakenya wants to change this.
Social Initiative supports the expansion, making it possible for more young Maasai girls to create a better future for themselves. Right now, we are expanding the school to enable girls to study all the way from first grade to high school.
Schools in Kenya kept close during most of 2020 due to the corona pandemic. Kakenya was successfully able to keep in contact with students and their families throughout the year, distributing necessities like food and hygiene products. 99% returned back to normal when schools reopened in January 2021, compared to the national 80%.
dropped out of school