A New Maasai Rite of Passage Stops Female Circumcision.


Push play to hear Teri Gabrielsen of Africa Schools of Kenya (ASK) report the changes in the Maasai community as 52 girls enjoy an alternative rite of passage rather than the pain of female genital mutilation (FGM).

This ancient tradition of female genital cutting is slowly changing although many countries already outlaw it, and the UN is banning it worldwide. However, cases of it still exist in developed countries like the United States and Britain without prosecution. ASK is making progress by inviting respected modern Maasai to answer the questions of less educated tribal members.

Changing this ancient practice involves providing alternative income for the women who used to do the cutting. ASK is carefully training the women to lead the new rite of passage so they can carry it forward to other villages in the Maasai community. This year, the Maasai women who would normally perform the circumcision were given milking goats to participate and help with the alternative rite of passage. The cost for each young woman to participate is $20 due to the 2-day ceremony, training and food the girls receive.

Through careful and respectful conversation and education by ASK, the Maasai community is opening to new ways for their children. By focusing on the health issues and encouraging parents to allow their girls to finish their high school education at the Esiteti School established by ASK, the girls’ marriages are delayed thereby addressing and improving the problems associated with child bearing at too young an age. Click here to learn about the founding of the school.

Since the founding of ASK, Teri has developed the sale of the beautiful jewelry beading by the Maasai women to fully support the Esiteti school. Take a few moments to view the jewlery by clicking here and give it as gifts during the holidays and for other special occasions. You may also be interested in giving a home party to support ASK and the wonderful progress it’s making. ASK recently attended the World’s largest trade fair, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, and will again next year. This is another opportunity to view the jewelry.

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