I am Sekeyian Letura , a 25 yr old girl from the Maasai tribe in Kenya. I was born to a deeply traditional community in Mosiro village. Where I come from, girls are forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) at 10 yrs old. It signifies the entry into womanhood, after which, they are forcefully married off to old men in exchange for a few herds of cattle. The highest bidder gets to take the girl and has no obligation to ever bring her back to her homeland. Little girls are ripped away from their families never to be seen again. Their innocence is stolen. Their dreams shattered. They take on ‘wifely duties’, while living in fear and psychological trauma due to domestic violence. I was 10 yrs old when the old women came to our homestead to circumcise me. I had gone to school that day so they didn’t find me. However, my friends were not so lucky. They were herding cattle in the fields. They tried to run away but were pinned down forcefully, mutilated and taken to their new ‘husbands’. I never saw them again. When I came back home and learnt of the news, I packed my clothes and left home at nightfall. This brave decision caused me to be ex-communicated from my society.Young, scared and broken-hearted, I began a journey that took me to a safe place, far away from the people I loved. School saved me that day. School taught me that it is my birthright to carve my own path. I am now the voice of the voiceless girls in my community. I hold their hands so that they do not end up scared and alone like I was. I am using education as a weapon to fight FGM and early marriage through the Nashipai Maasai Community projects. This project runs a rescue center for girls escaping retrogressive cultures. We take them in, nurse their wounds, protect them and give them an education. I aim to live my mark on this world so that someone somewhere says ‘I did not give up because of you’. My zealous efforts caught the attention of Watson Institute in Colorado ,which gave me an admission into their Spring Semester 2020 so I can hone my skills and learn the ropes of managing the Nashipai Maasai Projects. This program will equip me with the necessary skills to drive my initiatives sustainable and scalable so that we can take in more girls and give them wings to fly.
Help me raise $5,000 to cover my flight, utility fees and part-tuition so that I join the Watson Institute in January.
~ In the words of Kofi Annan, ‘to educate a girl is to eradicate poverty’.
Want to see what Nashipai Project means to the survivors of Female Genital Mutilation? Visit https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/board...