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Six young Maasai women tell of their heartbreaking struggle against the traditions of their families and their communities for the right to go to secondary school.

The girls, and many hundreds like them, are supported by The Dogodogo Centre’s “sister project”, the Emusoi Centre for Pastoralist Girls, in Arusha, Tanzania. The projects were founded by two Maryknoll sisters from the US.

Emusoi, which means “awareness” or “discovery” in Maa, the language of the Maasai, was funded by DfID, with a foreword by Gareth Thomas, Minister of State for International Development, who met young women from Emusoi in Arusha in 2009.

The artwork is by one of the Dogodogo boys, Emmanuel.


Emusoi Maasai girls tell their stories

“These young women are representative of the difficulties faced by many across Africa and the developing world. It remains a challenge for many girls to get an education and fulfil their potential. These girls’ stories show us what is possible.”

Rt Hon Gareth Thomas MP
Minister of State for DfID


"How will my people survive? My mother taught all my friends, and all my friends' parents, but none of them went beyond primary school. They do not have enough education to stand up for their rights"


"Last September, during my Standard VII exams, my father announced that I must get married. A man called Tureto had already given him many cows as payment for me"


"Things are better now. My father is beginning to understand why my mother wanted me to go to secondary school. He is beginning to see that our way of life will not survive unless we change."


"When we cry, the salt in our tears makes the cuts sting, so we learn quickly that it is better not to cry."


"Of course I miss my family and my village, but I love being here because I feel safe with all my friends around me."


"The future of Maasai depends on the education of the women. What good is it if only a handful of us are educated? Our voices will not be loud enough!"

Emusoi - Linda
Emusoi - Naha

Copyright © 2009 Kasia Parham. All rights reserved.

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