EDUCATING MAASAI GIRLS – NABAYA PARMYA

CASE STUDY: Nabaya Parmya’s Story

The Pastoral Women’s Council (PWC) and Community Aid and Small Enterprises Consultancy (CASEC) are working together in 40 schools in northern Tanzania to fight for the right for girls education. The aim is to reduce gender differences in the enrolment, retention and performance of girls in secondary schools.

One of the important elements of the project is the establishment of ‘girls’ clubs’ within the schools. Maasai society is highly patriarchal and many girls are denied an education.

These clubs hope to empower girls through rights awareness on various subjects including; education, early and forced marriages, HIV and AIDS, as well as through building confidence.

My name is Nabaya Parmya. I am 15 years old and go to Lake Natron Secondary School in Ngorongoro district, Tanzania. I have 6 brothers and sisters and my family is poor with few livestock. My father couldn’t pay for my education, and didn’t want me to go to secondary school. If I got married, he would get the dowry of cows. PWC has become like a saviour for me because they took me to school.

Now I am one of the ten best students in my class of eighty children.

At Lake Natron, I’m secretary of our girls’ club. I’m very happy that it has been established because it’s brought a lot of changes to my life and the lives of the other girls. I’ve learnt about issues which stop me accessing an education and can talk openly about problems I have at school and at home, like being married early, or getting pregnant or HIV and AIDS. Since the club’s started I’ve noticed that people’s behaviour has changed, especially the relationships between boys and girls. And me? Now I understand my rights better. In my culture girls have no say on any issues that affect their lives. My father, elder brothers and uncles are the people who have power over my destiny. Now I know what rights I have and how I can communicate with people to stand up for them.

I will work so hard so that once I will complete my studies I will be a community development officer so that I can make the Maasai community aware of the importance of girls education. In my village and the whole ward not any girl has ever even completed form six just because of pregnancy and early and forced marriages. So I want to become a role model to my community.

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