For the humble Maasai communities in Ngorongoro District, financial security and family welfare are fundamental concerns.
Life is particularly difficult for these families who face numerous environmental, economic and social issues in their area of the Ngorongoro District. Lack of pasture, livestock diseases, recurrent droughts, increasing livestock death toll, encroachment on conservation areas, poverty, and increased land-use conflicts with commercial enterprise mean maintaining the wellbeing of their families is a daily struggle.
One shining beacon of hope, progress and success for these communities is Emanyata Secondary School (ESS).
Founded in 1992, ESS is community-owned and reliant primarily on community financial contributions and self-generated income. In 2005 the School found itself in a difficult financial position and PWC was asked by local leaders to step in as the managing organisation.
ESS is now an important resource and support mechanism for the District, not only as a local school and employer, but as a centre for discussion and development for the community and a platform for a girl’s empowerment movement that is creating change in this typically patriarchal society.
Within a Maasai culture that traditionally values boys’ education over girls’, ESS stands apart.
In 2015, 75% of ESS students were girls. Academically strong but financially struggling, without educational opportunity and encouragement these girls would be at high risk of forced marriage and early pregnancy. ESS provides them with a quality education and a safe living environment.
2015 marks 10 years of PWC’s stewardship and a year of great progress for the School. In addition to PWC’s ongoing student scholarship support, 112 ESS students were provided the PWC Pre-Form 1 progamme, which provides language lessons and subject tutoring to help prepare students transition from Tanzania’s Kiswahili primary curriculum to the English secondary curriculum. Enabling girls to successfully enter Secondary School also provides them with a secure campus home and safety from forced marriage and gender-based violence.
Ongoing academic success and community demand enabled a campus expansion in 2015. PWC facilitated the construction of two classrooms, an office for the headmaster and a boys’ dormitory. Campus management was also strengthened through recruitment of a Grounds Manager.
10 years of time and resource investment by PWC and numerous community members, student parents and financial supporters has come to fruition in recent years, with ESS placing first in their District in the Form Four National exams for the second consecutive year in 2015.
Lenoi Massago, a pastoralist girl from a remote area of Maasailand, has always struggled to attend school. When she was at primary school her father would try to stop her attendance. Once she was in standard five and realised the benefits of being educated she started finding ways around her father in order to attend school. When she passed her standard seven exams she expressed the desire to go on to secondary school but this was quickly brushed aside by her father. During the long break between primary and secondary school she was visiting an aunt when she heard that PWC were conducting interviews and exams to get a place in Emanyata Secondary School. She decided to go to the PWC office secretly so that her father wouldn’t stop her. She passed the exam and was told to report to the PWC office on the 14th January 2012 to be brought to Emanyata.
She went home to tell her father only to be told that he wouldn’t allow her to attend the school. The village chiefs were alerted about this. They managed to talk to her father and he promised that he would take her and that he would buy her all the requirements that she would need for school. When they discussed this with Lenoi's stepmother she refused to agree. Lenoi’s hopes of going to secondary school were dashed.
She stayed at home until March when she decided that she would try and make her own way to school. She ran away from home and found her way to a village near the school where she found a PWC worker. They put her on the phone to the PWC education officer who told her they would help her. Lenoi met up with one of the Emanyata Secondary School teachers who arranged for all the uniform and school necessities to be bought. Finally, Lenoi made it to secondary school.
Since then she has been under the full sponsorship of PWC. She does not go home for any holidays for fear that her parents will force her to marry or get a Morani (young warrior) to impregnate her. Her brother came to Emanyata to try and take her home but he was denied access by the school.
As long as PWC have the sponsorship funds and if Lenoi keeps working hard she will be able to complete her form 4 exams. Lenoi does not want to return home and be married off. She wants to choose her life path for herself. She has struggled so much in the face of adversity to be given the opportunity to be educated. She dreams of one day being a doctor. She wants to have her children educated in the best schools. With the help of the sponsorship from PWC this dream could become a reality for her.
"I was 13 when my father died and we lost all our cows. I’m from a family of three, my father was a watchman and we were a very poor family. I wanted to get an education to improve my life. My older brother passed primary school but was not able to go to secondary school because my father got sick and died. My younger brother and I were left with our older brother looking after us as my mother was pregnant and had to go back to her family for support. I never saw her again as she died afterwards.
If it weren’t for PWC when I refused to get married I would have been severely beaten and forced to marry the man my uncle had chosen for me. I would have been unable to go to secondary school. I am much happier to be in school than at home. PWC is my saviour. I want PWC to support more needy girls. I would like to volunteer for PWC to help them so I can keep busy. The longer I’m in school the more I know I need a lot more education."
Nebiang' eti Paulo is a Maasai girl living in Ngorongoro District. A year ago, she ran away to school but she still needs donations to help with her school fees this year. Here, in this short film made by our partner African Initiatives, she tells her story:
Watch four girls sponsored by PWC to attend Emanyata School talk about their dreams and why education means so much to them.
Jane Young, Director of the Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust talks about her visit to the Pastoral Women's Council in Tanzania
Watch this short clip of one of our donors, Jane Young from the Sylvia Adams Trust, talking about their trip to Loliondo to see the education work of PWC. She says PWC was the most impressive of all the organisations she visited in Tanzania!