In April 2011, an Advocacy Project Peace Fellow, Charlotte Bourdillon, was placed at the Kakenya Centre for Excellence. She undertook a project to profile people around the Enoosaen community (in Transmara district, Kenya), who were making waves in one way or another in the fight against female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and early marriages. Agnes Nteya Kimpuk was one such person who fit this profile: Agnes is bright and ambitious about her education, but shackled by tradition and a family that does not support her desire to continue her education. Her choice to refuse FGM/C has caused her father to reject and neglect her entirely, refusing to pay her school fees, treating her as less valuable than her circumcised sisters and disowning her.
However, this is not just Agnes’ story. In the Maasai community in Enoosaen, Kenya, there are innumerable iterations of Agnes’ story. These girls generally have few, if any, places to fo for support when they are outcast by their family because they refuse to be married and/or undergo FGM/C. Many girls hope that that if they run away from home, they will be able to find some way to continue to attend school.
Seeds to Sew developed the Enkisoma* program in partnership with the Kakenya Center for Excellence and the Enoosaen community in 2012. Since then, the Enkisoma program has grown, and as of 2019, 25 girls in the Enoosaen community beaded or are currently beading bracelets in the traditional Maasai style and have been funding their own education through the program.
We’re happy to share that Agnes, the inspiration behind and first participant of the Enkisoma program, is currently studying to be a teacher at the Kenyatta University in Nairobi.
Seeds to Sew builds the market in the US and facilitates the sale of the bracelets to fund school fees directly.
As with all of our products, 100% of all net proceeds are returned to the girls participating in the program and school fees and school-related expenses are paid directly.
* “Enkisoma” means “education” in the Maasai language. Education is often seen as wasted on a girl in Maasai culture, as girls are considered more valuable for the cows they bring through a marriage-dowry, and for the work they do around the farm