Our mission is to transform the lives of the most vulnerable, at-risk Maasai girls in Tanzania
Our vision is to break the cycle of poverty and oppression in Tanzania through a pathway for the most disadvantaged young Maasai girls to become strong, independent women. To provide them a home, sustenance, medical care, counseling, education and career skills to become independent young women, thereby benefitting their community.
Where We Started
Maasai Girls Rescue Center (MGRC) began with one man rescuing one girl. To date, MGRC has saved the lives of over 50 Maasai girls who were malnourished, diseased or injured.
In 2012, the Maasai Girls Rescue Center (MGRC) was born of an idea Rick Morro had after being introduced to the Maasai on a church short term mission trip. He was introduced to the poverty and yet ever-smiling faces of the children. Initially, Rick started by feeding the children who lived in the vicinity of his house on the border of Tanzania and Kenya. The children who DID attend school would walk 10 kilometres, one way, through the bush to school – many not having anything to eat prior to their journey. The children started coming to his house as early as 6 am to get a few pieces of bread or whatever he had to start their day. The children, some as young as 2 years old, would come by his house for lunch, where Rick would cook for himself and up to 20 children at one time. Rick was determined to try and help as many of these children as he could.
In early 2017, Rick was introduced to a community-based organization and local nonprofit in Tanzania. The advantage for that location was that there was water, electricity, and existing structures that could be converted for housing, feeding and educating the rescued girls. The buildings consist of a 20 room hostel that could house 40 girls, several rooms for cooking and classrooms, toilets and showers were also available. The facilities were in disrepair and with help from volunteers, they rolled up their sleeves and refurbish the facilities.
July 2017, he officially opened and welcomed 4 young girls to Maasai Girls Rescue Center from Namanga school. His goal was to take the poorest of the poor, the most at-risk girls running away from FGM and early forced child-marriage and provide them a safe haven, an education, and daily nutritional meals. The next girl came to the rescue center from the local social services. She was 8 years old and was being forced to marry a 50 year old man. It’s illegal in Tanzania to be forced to marry but not always enforced. She never attended school prior to joining MGRC, and only spoke Ma, the Maasai language. UPDATE: She’s in school, speaking Kiswahili, learning English, and doing well. While she attended school, we discovered she had vision problems. We provided her with corrective glasses and she is excelling in her studies.
By the end of 2018, there were 21 girls living at Maasai Girls Rescue Center.
The MGRC’s positive impact was spreading through the tribe. Rick had mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and even fathers that asked him – almost daily – to take their girls. Families recognized that the girls residing at MGRC were healthy and getting a quality education. Our mission was to take in the most vulnerable girls who were starving, abused, or being forced to marry as children.
In 2020, we acquired land of our own to build our children’s ecoVillage and ecoFarm. The masterplan included living quarters for approximately 120 Maasai girls, a pre-school, vocational training area, sports field and running track, dining hall, volunteer living quarters, livestock and agriculture.
Meet Rick Morro, Founder of Maasai Girls Rescue Center
I feel grateful for the opportunity to use my blessings to help people I never even knew existed a few years ago. I had a somewhat comfortable life, a nice house in the suburbs of Phoenix Arizona, a nice car and many very good friends. I enjoyed golf and when I thought I needed to escape to relax more than a retired man already was, I would go flyfishing in New Mexico.
Before I retired I thought that I would spend the rest of my life enjoying doing these hobbies and attending the various Men’s Church Groups I was involved in. It didn’t take long after retirement for me to be totally restless. I could not understand exactly why as I had no desire to go back into the work force even though I considered it as a way to try to fill the void. I was constantly feeling empty and restless to do something with the rest of my life. I prayed and asked God for direction. He answers prayers but not always in the time frame we seek. I spent a year of researching various domestic and international volunteer organizations but couldn't find anything that really pulled me into joining. As with all of God’s plans, He knows how and when it is the right opportunity and the right time.
Early in 2012, I was frustrated about the lack of response to my efforts and was directed to an outreach pastor at a church. I was not a regular attendee but many of my men’s group members were. Long story short, if that is possible with me, I called the outreach pastor. I told him I was a retired businessman who wanted to volunteer, for a long-term assignment, in either Asia (my first choice) or Africa. He told me he was leaving to go to Tanzania the next day, to send my resume, and we would talk when he returned. I have to admit, I did not think Tanzania was a hardship assignment or that the people were in such great need. In the summer of 2012, I made my first short-term mission trip to Tanzania with the church group. All my presumptions of exotic animals and safaris to beautiful national parks were confirmed, but the poverty and hardship I saw was overwhelming. I know this was where God wanted me to be.
I have been in Tanzania ever since. It has not been all smooth sailing and I am tired most nights but it's all worth it to help improve the lives of these Maasai girls. We are currently raising over 50 at-risk girls, providing them a safe haven, nutritional daily meals, education and vocational training, and medical care in a loving family environment.