Ruth is one of many young girls in the Maasai community, in a remote village in Kenya, where it is common for girls her age to stop going to school after finishing their primary education.
Without further education, young girls are faced with female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage. The Kenyan government estimates that 32% of all women between the ages of 15 and 49 in more than half of the country’s districts have undergone FGM. The prevalence among Maasai is still a shocking 95-97%. (Maasai-Rising.org 2014)
But not Ruth. Ruth was provided a New Vision solar light in 2013. By the end of the school year, she passed the national exam and was given the title of “Position One Girl.” Ruth’s mother made sure her daughter was allowed to attend secondary school – and not be married off nor subjected to the gruesome reality of mutilation in the tribal community. Her mother attributes her success in school to the extra hours of studying at night with our solar light. The village is very proud of her and so are we. Having light to study at night empowers women and children and provides them with the opportunity to change their lives.
Leonard Wambau, Pastor of Eagle Rise Church and Director of the Africa Capacity Building Initiative, works with a large network of over 200 churches and encourages children to finish school. He is also one of New Vision’s Outreach Partners that help us light the world. He followed up to ensure Ruth is going to secondary school. The Maasai school does not perform well and Pastor Wambau agreed with the parents and the school management to monitor the situation together to ensure children improve their performance now that they have New Vision solar lights. He is planning another visit for monitoring and prize giving for children who show tremendous improvement after completing exams.
Raising awareness is at the cornerstone of women’s empowerment programs because it can transform the way communities think about women’s roles, rights, and responsibilities. Gender inequality is prevalent in global poverty issues. New Vision partners with organizations that provide more opportunities to empower women to become small business owners, helping to bring an end to poverty around the world.
- The Story of New Vision (Seaman interview)