Note: This is the first of a three-part blog about sustainability. Each blog illustrates one of the United Nations’ three pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental.
Sayuni came to Maasai Girls Rescue Center three years ago when she was 10. Her mother brought her, saying she could no longer support her child. Then the mother left and hasn’t been back.
She had never attended school. She had a growth on her thyroid that needed surgical removal.
We took her to Plaster House for treatment that was successful. Sayuni settled in at the center, enrolled in a community-based school and began learning English. She became interested in sewing, a skill that was introduced to our girls through Threads of Hope, a ministry of Scottsdale Bible Church in Arizona. The group donated several sewing machines and literally hundreds of hand-sewn dresses. An instructor came to the center to teach the girls.
Now she is making school bags for the other girls and even created a purse for a visitor. If clothing needs mending, girls take it to her to fix. She’s an inspiration as well as a help to her friends.
Sayuni wants to become a seamstress. People who can sew Maasai women’s dresses can make good money here. That could become her path to financial independence.
Beyond identifying and developing the girls’ talents, we want to teach them how to sell their products and skills. A foundation in reading, writing and math, coupled with basic business knowledge, will enable them to make a living that will, in turn, sustain the local economy.
In early 2022 we will begin offering more formalized vocational training.
In preparation for the ecoLodge — a boutique hotel we plan to build for visiting tourists on safari — our girls will learn a variety of vocational skills they can then apply to gain first-hand experience in the hospitality field. Profits from the ecoLodge will go back into MGRC.
The vocational training center will be constructed when we get enough donations. Everything we do here is donor supported, pending creation of the revenue-generating ecoLodge.
Our goal is to recede as the girls grow into adulthood and work with local MGRC staff and businesses to create a tourism destination. They’ll become self-sustaining, independent and interdependent.
This is our wish for Sayuni and for all the girls who come to MGRC.