The Safe House Education (S.H.E.) Fund:
Educating Maasai Girls who have the Courage
to Change their World
The S.H.E. Fund was inspired by the courageous and dedicated girls of the Tasaru Rescue Center in Narok, Kenya. Also known as the V-Day Safe House, the refuge was created in 2002 by Agnes Pareyio, a Maasai visionary, in collaboration with V-Day founder Eve Ensler, to help Maasai girls escaping the tribal traditions of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early childhood marriage, and to provide them with primary and secondary education, a right denied women in the Maasai tradition. Every year 6-8 girls from the Safe House graduate secondary school and they have been reconciled with their parents, in a beautiful ceremony that includes villagers from miles around. In doing so, they’ve transformed their families and communities by becoming the first females in their villages to go beyond primary school.
The S.H.E. Fund is the next step, offering support for college to those students who choose to continue with their education. Those currently supported by the S.H.E. Fund are studying Early Childhood Education, Business, Accounting, Nursing, Community Development, Medical Technology and Peace and Conflict Resolution. They will emerge from these programs with the skills and maturity to make their way in the world, and, by their example, break to the cycle of oppression in their communities. Those currently supported by the S.H.E. Fund are studying Early Childhood Education, Business, Accounting, Nursing, Community Development, Medical Technology and Peace and Conflict Resolution. They emerge from these programs with the skills and maturity to make their way in the world, and, by their example, break to the cycle of oppression in their communities.
The mission of the S.H.E. Fund is to provide college, university or trade school tuition and all living expenses for as many graduating Tasaru residents as possible, so that these young women are able to become models for their tribes and thus change the story of Maasai women and girls who have been oppressed for generations – denied education, choice, and basic human rights. It is also our passion and purpose to provide as many donors as are inclined with relationships with these young women in the knowledge that the cross-cultural human connection will change the lives of all.
In the last chapter of Saved by a Poem, Kim writes about her first visit to the V-Day Safe House for Maasai Girls in Narok, Kenya. Initially, she was paralyzed with shyness and most of the girls were too. In an awkward moment one young woman, Jecinta, stepped forward and asked her to sing a song. “What I really love is poetry,” she responded. “May I recite a poem to you?” The miracle that ensued forged a life-changing connection for all of them. As the last lines of Mary Oliver’s “The Journey” echoed — “determined to do / the only thing you could do / determined to save / the only life you could save” — many of the girls were in tears of recognition. So was Kim.
In 2010, Jecinta reached out to Kim to help her to get funds to go to college. Kim joined with several friends to raise the money, and Jecinta flourished. This was due not only to the financial support she received but also to the emotional impact of the human connection with those who believed in her. Funders also were profoundly moved by the opportunity to have direct and ongoing relationship with the student. In subsequent years, Kim raised funds for six more girls to go to college. Witnessing the life-changing impact on the young women, and also how they are now transforming their families, villages and tribe as a whole, she was inspired to create the S.H.E. Fund. In 2019, the S.H.E. Fund has 30 students in school and 11 graduates.
“Evidence shows that girls’ education brings a wide range of benefits not only for the girls themselves but also for their children and their communities, as well as society at large in terms of economic growth.”
— UNITED NATIONS FOUNDATION
Each year six to eight girls from the V-Day Safe House graduate secondary school. Let's support these extraordinary young women to get an education that will transform their lives, their culture, and this world we share. Let's do it in perpetuity.
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Become a Primary Funder.
$3500 per year provides all expenses for a student in college
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Contribute to the General Fund.
We welcome donations of any amount which we combine to support students who do not have a Primary Funder and to cover the operating expenses of the S.H.E. Fund.
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Become a Sustaining Funder.
Make monthly, quarterly or annual contributions to the S.H.E. Fund.
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