Just outside the gate to the Grail center at Kisekibaha, Tanzania is Chekechea. It is the home to Feliciana, a young Grail member and the 15 young Maasai girls who call her mama. Over the past 10 years the Grail has gradually brought these girls to live here at the request and with the blessings of their birth mothers. These women know that the only way for their daughters to escape female genital mutilation (FGM), early marriage and the very difficult life of Maasai women, is to get an education and live outside Maasai culture. They attend the Montessori preschool at Chekechea, (Feliciana is the sole teacher/administrator), or walk to the primary school nearby. They come speaking only the Maasai language and must learn Swahili and English. Their beauty and their stories are heartbreaking.
Lea knew that for her daughters to escape FGM and survive outside the Maasai community, they would need to leave their home and get an education. She asked the Grail women to take her daughters, raise them and help them go to school. In a leap of faith, Honorata and Maria agreed to do just that.
What’s in a name:
Sofia, seen here, is the youngest of all the Maasai girls living at Chekechea. Sofia was named after Honorata’s mother and her name means wisdom. Sophia was chosen as the name sake for this fund because she embodies the spirit and energy of these young girls.
She radiates beauty and hope for the future.
United States Grail member, Mindy Burger had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania and visit The Grail centers there. Please check out her blog, Making Connections, to learn more about her experiences and why she believes The Grail in the USA needs to play a vital role in helping these young girls.
To see some photos from her trip click here.
A Message From Mindy: