Our frequently asked questions are answered below but if you have question that is not covered here, please email us at [email protected]. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about Maasai Girls Rescue Center.
Maasai Girls Rescue Center has a proven track record of using donations efficiently and effectively. From child sponsorships to the large philanthropic donors, we cherish all of our supporters. You can be assured that MGRC uses the valuable resources donors have provided in the most cost-effective ways possible.
Our independently audited financial statement and our estimated annual budget consistently show that out of every dollar spent, 100% goes directly to the care of the girls.
Because the Founder, President, Board of Directors, Angel Donors, and Marketing/Fundraising team members are all unpaid volunteers, our charity management expenses are zero. This support makes it possible for us to keep our promise: “that we will never use public donations to pay for our administration or fund raising expenses."
Yes, Maasai Girls Rescue Center, Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by USA law. When you donate, you will be emailed a donation receipt for your records.
The MGRC girls that reside at the rescue center are the most vulnerable, at-risk girls in Tanzania. In addition to our community outreach, we work alongside local governments and social workers who receive runaways from forced child-marriages, orphaned and abused girls. Since we have been in the Maasai community since 2012, desparate grandmothers and mothers who can no longer provide food or medical care, will come to us seeking a better life for their young girls.
Areas in Tanzania that are at least 30 km from a paved road without water, electricity, shops, schools, or village are commonly referred to as “the bush". It is just a single mud hut built far from anything, even neighbors, to give the livestock space to roam around.
Our child sponsorships are monthly or annually, full or partial year. The summary of expenses can be found on our financials page. The sponsorships cover nutritious food, quality housing, immediate and ongoing medical care, clothes and shoes, school supplies, education/enrollment fees to attend a local school. Essentially, when you take on a full sponsorship you aren’t just covering food or clothes, you are giving a much deserved girl the opportunity for a brighter future.
This is Africa and many people know that a typical family who lives here survives on less than $3.00 dollars a day. At MGRC we basically adopt each girl, raising them as we would our own children. We provide everything a girl needs to grow into their full potential. We provide a clean and safe housing with full time Matrons who mentor and teach each girl essential tools for facing life challenges.
Each girl receives a medical check up at the local hospital upon arrival at MGRC and continued full health coverage is provided by us. We have several girls who have been treated for worms, club foot, floriosis (bent leg), ear infections, head fungus, skin disorders and vision issues.
We have a full time cook who prepares all meals. The meals always consist of foods the girls may never have experienced before, such as meat, fruits and vegetables. We provide a balanced diet so the girls not only can grow into healthy adults but also learn the importance of nutrition for their future children and families.
We provide clothing, everything from school uniforms, athletic track suits, dresses for church and after school, underwear, shoes, socks and personal items that many have never been exposed to. We also provide new Maasai shukas, the traditional dresses of the Maasai women and girls. None of our girls have ever had a new shuka. The practice in the bush is that a father hands down his old shuka to his wife then the wife cuts hers to fit the children. Imagine the condition of these garments once a child receives them. It is not easy to describe but once you witness this you will be compelled to help.
MGRC believes that it is important to keep the girls connected to their Maasai traditions. We have a grandmother come once a week to teach traditional bead making and our Matrons teach traditional Maasai songs and dance.
Our tutors help the girls with their homework and assists them in learning how to study and prepare for their assignments. This is not a practice that they have ever seen. The results are showing in the school reports they bring home.
What we want you to do as a volunteer is to share your culture with the girls at MGRC to help open their minds to a chance of a brighter future and to let them know that they have the capability of breaking free from cultural norms, poverty and oppression. When you come to the rescue center, you are bringing them hope and opportunity for a better tomorrow.
When you share your culture with the girls, it does not just have to be in the form of stories of your daily life in your home country or your plans and dreams for the future. You can help develop their minds through physical activities, such as teaching them how to play a popular sport like volleyball in the center’s playground, or teaching them how to speak English through conversation at our learning center.
What we want for the girls at the center is for them to understand that they are responsible for their own future and what they want to do with it, not anyone else.
Karatu, Tanzania is in East Africa. We recommend you review the Tanzania Government website to see what vaccinations are necessary. They vary from time to time so it is best to review several months prior to coming. We have mosquitoes and thus malaria is a possibility. Your doctor can prescribe medicine that can prevent you from contacting malaria while on your visit. We also have mosquito nets and spray as an added protection at night.
Yes a visa is necessary to visit Tanzania. The cost is $100 USD and can be obtained at the airport upon arrival or you can procure prior to arriving. You can find the procedures for procuring the visa by viewing the Tanzanian Government website.
There are many different methods of FGM, what the Maasai practice is classified as Type I by WHO, meaning total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (clitoridectomy). Visit the WHO website for more information
Boys and girls are both “circumcised" in Maasai culture, although for girls the term used is FGM (female genital mutilation). Both are brutal operations performed on children who have no voice in the matter. For girls the procedure is much more invasive and dangerous and runs a much higher risk of complications or death. The side effects are also much more extreme and long lasting. Examples include increased risk of complications during childbirth that put the mother and her baby’s life at risk, and fistulas (a vaginal fistula is an abnormal opening that connects your vagina to another organ).
It is a maasai tradition that a girl must be cut in oder to be considered a woman and be eligible for marriage. Most men expect their wives to be cut.
In the Maasai community, a girl being cut(FGM) is one of the most important traditions that marks a women’s passage to womanhood. It is also their belief that this cutting of the girl’s genital organ will lower her urge to have sexual interaction, thus mimizing prostitution and pregnancies before marriage. A girl not being cut is taboo and is called, entaapai, which is a very bad stigma for a girl carry into her adult life. At a girls wedding, if a she has committed entaapai, she will not be allowed to pass through the normal boma gate. A temporary gate will be created for her, and immediately after she passes through the gate will be re-fenced. It is a sign that she has broken with the traditional practice of the tribe.
A Maasai girl is cut as early as the age of five. The Maasai have several different Clans, or extended family identities, and each Clan has their own age and circumstances that dictate when a girl is cut. The father is the one who decides when is the right time.
After the FGM ritual is complete the girl must wear a black shuka and a wreath around her head made of white small sea shells and colored beads sewn to a strip of animal skin. The girls must dress in this fashion for at least four months while she is healing from her FGM procedure. The girl does not cut her hair during this “dark” period, and she is not allowed to wash or use water for any reason.
In Tanzania it is estimated that 99% of the Maasai girls have this procedure done. If the father wants it to be done, it is very hard to refuse his orders without a safe place to run away to.
It is difficult but can be done. The educated girls are learning they have rights and they can refuse. Some families do not care what the others think and let their girl decide. These families (most of which are Christian) are in the minority and often have some girls cut and some not.
The government in the past has let the Maasai govern themselves in the traditions of FGM and even early marriage, but recently they have been enforcing the law especially when it is brought to their attention from pastors, school officials, or even the girls themselves. There are not many if any places for these girls to escape even after they are rescued from these old Maasai traditional abuses. The government will write a letter and have social services talk to the parents and warn them of an impending arrest if they do not let the girl achieve legal marrying age. There is no effective protection from FGM unless the girl has a place to run away to.
Yes. We hope to reconcile the girls with her family if she decides not to be cut. Some families are even having fake ceremonies where the village does not know she was not cut. Rare but it does happen. The traditional Maasai will not consider her an adult, and it will be difficult to marry inside the tribe since most men expect their wives to be cut.