I am the international liaison officer for Aang Serian, the Tanzanian nonprofit organization that works with ImTrav on the Volunteer Safari and Maasai Experience (VSME) trip based at Noonkodin School near Monduli. I'm writing to ask if anyone can help us out at all, as we are in a very difficult position.
Since December 2005, Aang Serian has been running a grassroots campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM) in five Maasai villages. News of the campaign is spreading rapidly as the school vacation (the peak season for FGM) approaches. In the past three weeks, 27 desperate Maasai girls aged between 11 and 18 have run away from their families and come to our school, seeking protection from FGM and forced marriage, often to men in their fifties and sixties who already have several wives.
FGM is practised by Maasai as a rite of passage to adulthood and involves the excision of the clitoris and part of the inner labia with an unsterilised razor blade. It causes excruciating pain, shock, severe blood loss and often infections. Several girls die every year as a direct result of the procedure and many more suffer permanent damage, including infertility and mental health problems. Women who have undergone FGM experience less pleasure during sex, more pain during childbirth, and higher rates of infant mortality.
Aang Serian, a relatively small organization with no long-term donor funding, has only enough money to support the first 6 refugees. The rest will all need to be returned home unless sponsors can be found to contribute money for their food, shelter, medical care and education. Are any of you able to make a contribution? All donations, however small, are gratefully received. Does anyone know of any women's organizations that might be able to help out?
Many thanks in advance,
Gemma Enolengila (Mrs)
[ edit - this tour code changed in 2007 to VKSM ]
[ http://www.imaginative-traveller.com/destinations/tourdetails/pop_itin.php?code=VKSM ]
[ 27. November 2006, 10:01 AM: Message edited by: BrendanG ]