In the maasai community, a typical girl grows up from childhood to adulthood playing safe. Especially if they come from a village background where values and beliefs derive strength from traditions. Due to lack of education, these young girls do not get to know their basic and constitutional rights and they therefore find themselves giving in to exploitive and oppressive practices which alter their lifestyles at a very tender age. Such practises include female genital mutilation, getting married at a young age, becoming inherited by the husband’s brother in case the latter dies and not becoming involved in any decision making. As the backbone of their families and the whole society,these women become instruments of work and are gradually forgotten. They are there to be seen and not to be heard. They do not have time to think about themselves because they are so committed to holding everyone else together. No one really cares about how they feel and what they need because they cannot voice their needs,to them that is going against societal norms and values.
“But these women have hidden capabilities and strength!”
But these women have hidden capabilities and strength! Though marginalised, these women not only run their homes and raise their children, they are also livestock managers, peacemakers, and on rare occasions, have managed to be elected into the national and regional government. These women are the real definition of the strength of a woman. To them, life gives no quarters, spares no feelings, limits no pain and puts no ceiling on happiness. They take life as it comes but unconsciously limiting their potential and prowess. Their struggles are not because they lack the will and drive to overcome them, but because they find themselves stuck in a life of abject poverty and slaves to an unchanging culture.
As a young Maasai girl, I have watched these women wake up and struggle everyday – hoping that life will become better. I know they would say that even if we are not always happy, it’s our task to immerse ourselves in our duties, wade straight through it, keep our eyes and hearts open.
“That is why NABIO aim to empower these women not only to fend for themselves, but to fight oppressive practises, teach their daughters to scream, to hold their heads up high before society tries to silence them.”
That is why NABIO aim to empower these women not only to fend for themselves, but to fight oppressive practises, teach their daughters to scream, to hold their heads up high before society tries to silence them. We want to to help them understand that to love yourself and your people should be no quiet affair,but a loud uprising. We are grateful for those who are already supporting NABIO in their various ways and would like to ask everyone else to join us in this fine journey to help restore the dignity of the maasai woman.
Happy Women’s day to all strong ladies and women fighting for better courses.