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From the beneficiaries point of view

Testimonies

OMDC 032: Beatrice Wangui

I became an orphan at the age of 12 yrs. and all I could think of was shuttered dreams and hopeless ends. All I was left with was my elderly grandmother who worked as a casual laborer in some estates next to our neighborhood to afford meals and upkeep for her three daughters and now a granddaughter(me). Life was slowly becoming a nightmare for her now that she had an extra mouth to feed and school fees to pay. She had to double her shifts to afford all the necessities regardless of her old age. For me, I had dreams and the only way I knew how to live them was through education. I knew from an early age that I wanted more in life and a way out of poverty for our family and attending college and becoming an accountant would create a leeway. However, life was taking a turn for the worse. The struggles for necessities at home were already escalating now that my grandmother’s old age was kicking in faster. Two meals a day were slowly turning to one light meal and school fees was no longer a now problem. This was a dead end for me and I could not think through dropping out of school. I was almost losing the spark for a brighter future until an employee of my grandmother mentioned her about One More Day for Children (OMDC). Just in time to save my future, OMDC came through for me when I most needed them.

My dream of completing education seemed impossible but with a full education scholarship through One More Day for Children (OMDC), I saw the light coming through the dark tunnel in my life. Through the organization, I was able to get a sponsor who has seen me through my primary, secondary, and university education. I smoothly transitioned from primary school to high school and joined KCA University for my first degree in 2016. On November 20, 2020, I proudly graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce(Accounting) from KCA University with a Second Class- Upper Award. My commitment to education did not end here, later in 2021, OMDC sponsored my CPA course to complement my degree and I hope to complete the course by the end of this year. I am so proud to have scaled this much in my education. One More Day for Children(OMDC) changed my story and revived my hope. Long live OMDC!

OMDC 059: Fimah Wangui

My name is Fimah Wangui Juliana from Kenya. I grew up in likii slums, which is in Nanyuki Laikipia County, where people living in grinding poverty. I've lived with my grandmother and cousin for most part of my life, we lived in a a single room. My mother at the time was working in the capital, Nairobi as a house manager but later on she lost her job and there was no way she could keep providing for our basic necessities. This resulted to her going missing for a while. My grandmother couldn't support us fully and this was becoming difficult for her to pay for our school fees, provide food, medical care and clothes.In 2010, if i can remember correctly The One More Day for Children ( OMDC) Organisation to us in, me and my cousin. OMDC is a non_profit organization that creates a safe space for children to grow in and achieve their goals, girl child empowerment. From an early age i knew education was the only route out of poverty and hence i took my studies seriously. I passed well in my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education in 2014 and i joined Bahati Upper hill in Nakuru. OMDC paid for my schoolfees, books, uniforms and anything else that was required of me to report with in Highschool. I am grateful to this Organisation.

Fast forward, I completed my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education and performed well too and was admitted to The Catholic University of Eastern Africa. I am currently completing my Bachelor's Degree program in Political Science, in Nairobi. I am a full-time student, motivated by my love for learning and succeeding as i strive to become an outstanding and successful woman. I am ambitious, well determined and a disciplined young woman. I encourage fighting for what you desire and believe in and doing it through God because nothing great comes easy and with God everything is possible. My ambition is to one day work with the Non_ Governmental Organizations to protect human rights and end human right abuses. I want to keep doing my best at every level to be the best i can be and to make a difference in the world. A five year forecast of my life includes me having completed a master's degree in International Relations. One thing I'd love to tell the young people is that be open to accepting direction and wisdom from those who have walked the road before you. I don't think i could have come this far without the One More Day for Children Organisation's unwavering support and encouragement. Your support has been a precious gift that i will always treasure. No other charity like OMDCF.

OMDC 086: BARBRA NAPONU LEGEI

My name is Barbra,22 yrs of age. I am a total orphan,having lost my mother in 2002,when I was hardly 1yr, and my dad in 2008. after their death,life became very hard for me and my siblings and I being the youngest had to be fostered out to one of my maternal aunt. My aunt was also not stable, she had no stable income and had her own children to take care off. I was enrolled in Doldol Primary school untill class 2 when she convinced Lentile School to take me in on a partial scholarship,still in Doldol.At this point,she could no loner sustain me and ahd to give me out to one of my siste at Kimanjo,where I then would stay during school holidays. My sister got married off at an early age and so ,life was not easir either. She was unable to pay for my school fees at Lentile though under partial cholarship.I had to drop out of school to stay with my sister,taking care of her children and goats. I feared that my uncles would get me circumcised and get me married off since I was not in school and they valued not girl child education. I was stressed and was always crying myself to sleep at night.

The matter was reported to One More Day for children Foundation and I was rescued by the social worker and police and taken to One More Day Girls Safe House and enrolled back to Lentile School as counselling continued. I got full sponsorship. I sat for my KCPE examas and scored 376 marks,got admitted at Kaaga Girls High school in Meru. The foundation catered for everything,from school fees, personal essentials to school uniforms,medical and frequently visited me in school to find out how I was progressing. I did my KCSE exam,scored grade Cplain and I was admitted at Kenya Insitute of Manangement,to pursue a diploma in project management. Currently I a doing my final semester and my dream is to pursue the same to degree level. I am still under OMDCF sponsorship.I can only say,I am what and who iam today because of One More day for Children and I am sure my parents in Heaven are peaceful knowing that God sent an Angel in the name of One More Day for Children Foundation to take over from where they left. I pride myself in the strong skills and mentorship I have received from this foundation and as a girl,nothing can stop my dream from fruition. If all organizations would be like this foundation,genuine and committed to its mission and vission,the world would be a great place for every child to live in. I recommend this foundation highly to any donor!

OMDC 117: MAGIEL MALKIA

My name is Malkia(Princess). I am 23 years old and a beneficiary of One More day for Children foundation. I remember like it was yesterday, in the year 2012,a black day but yes,also a day my life took a positive turn. I was a partial orphan,having lost my mother. I and my elder sister were left under the care oof a serious traditionist father ,who never valued girls education or women empowerment. To him, we were his properties and counted each day how much he was to fetch from us interms of dowery. One day in 2012, a big ceremony was organized in our homestead,the masai manyatta. We would see songs reharsals by women,black clothes .traditional beer etc. All I knew,is when such happens,a girl is scheduled to go theough FGM(Female Cut) and subsequently married off. I however had no clue who the girl or girls were. I spent most of my time away in the field herding my fathers` livestock.Fast forward,one evening when I got home,I overheard women talking and mentioning my name and my sister`s name. I got terrified,I knew my time had come anyway. I discussed with my sister secretely, we planned on an escape but we did not know how. One of our closest neigbor had her children in school,she valued education. We got hold of her and asked for help to evade the cut.

She secretely raised One More day for Children Director who fetch police from doldol police station. They raided our hut(homestead ) at night before we faced the knife,sorrounded the homestead with guns. We were rescued,my dad and few men were arrested. We were taken to One More Day Girls` Safe House and later to children`s court where dad was jailed for some months before being released. We got counselling and love and we were taken to school at Doldol Primary school. In 2018,I sat for my KCPE and passed well. I was admitted at Gatero Girls secondary school. In 2022 I sat for my KCSE exams and scored a strong C plain. All through I have had a passion to become a Nurse or a doctor. My grade landed me to a Diploma Course in Nutrition and Diabetics at Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) in Thika. Still under One More day for children,I am in yr 1,second semester. My dad died when I was doing my KCSE exams. I came to learn after,and visited the grave and my hair was shaved. He died before witnessing my success and appreciating the value of girl child education though. When I am on holiday,my home still is One More Day Girls safe House and I spend y holiday helping at the dispensary withinn the Safe house as well as outreach programs to talk to other girls and youth on the dangers of FGM and early marriage and the iportance of education. I pen off by sayiny….My mother,my father is One More day for children! I am forever grateful. I recommend this wonderful foundation to all donors and well wishers as I thank them for using the foundation to touch thousands of lives positively.

OMDC 089: NAMKEI KILOKU

The type of circumcision that the Maasai perform is called clitoridectomy, in which the entire clitoris or part of the clitoris, and at times the adjacent labia, is removed. The primary reason female circumcision is practiced among the Maasai is that it is considered a rite of passage. Circumcision is a cultural practice in the Maasai community, not a religious practice. It elevates a girl from childhood to the status of adulthood, and is necessary for a girl to be considered a complete woman. Another important belief among the Maasai is that the rite has an ability to reduce the woman's desire for sex, making her less likely to engage in pre-marital sex or adultery. Being a Maasai woman who knows the effects of FGM, I feel obliged to tell about the harm that is brought to the girl. Excessive bleeding can occur during the practice and can lead to death. Today, because the procedure often has to take place in hiding, female circumcision is mostly performed using shared and unsterilized objects, which can lead to HIV/AIDS and tetanus, and damage organs including the vaginal walls. Inflammation of the cells around the circumcision area also occurs shortly after the operation. The long-term effects of FGM include chronic infections of the reproductive parts, pain during sexual intercourse, and difficulties in childbirth.

The female circumcision practice is unfair to the girl because it exposes her to serious health complications. It is also mostly done against her wishes and becomes a violation of her rights. In the Maasai community, once a girl undergoes circumcision, she can start a family. This belief has contributed greatly to the practice of early marriage among the Maasai.My parents, Now dead, were once in support of the practice, they planned for me to undergo FGM and immediately be given out. I was sad and scared. I knew all plans were ready,and my dream was to be shattered. I could not allow it,as we were sleeping with women waiting for the time of Cut, I requested to go to short call and ensured I did not show any sign that I was against the cut. They allowed me out of the igloo and yes,I found may way out of the place,dark at night and in a world full of dangerous wild animals. I carerd not. I ran away,far ,10 kms till I found a school and was given a helping hand by a lady teacher who called OMDC officials to safe me!My parents however mad they became,they came to change after I came back home accompanied by OMDC staff and convinced them of the dangers. Being Christian and members of a denomination that does not allow the practice also encouraged them a great deal. It was hard, however, for them to tell others about the negative effects because they will be considered to have betrayed our culture.The Maasai people value our culture. Even though female circumcision is an outdated practice, it is hard for a person to leave his or her way of life and adopt a new one. If this change has to happen, it will happen gradually. Everlyn Namkei is 21 yrs of age now,from One More Day Safe House. She is currently undertaking a certificate course in Hair and beauty Technology at Meru Institute of Business Studies. Soon she hopes to open her own beauty studio and offer employment to the lessfortunate as a way of giving back.

OMDC 040: MARY LEKURTUT

Female circumcision is a rite of passage among the Maasai that marks change from childhood to adulthood. Though some groups such as the OMDC,Christian Church, educators, and some non-governmental organizations have made an effort to abolish this practice, the Maasai, according to my mother, are stubborn. She says, “Female circumcision is our culture. Why should we be forced to abandon it when we were born into it? Abandoning our culture would be annoying our ancestors. It would bring a curse to the entire community.” My mother also says that circumcision does not affect the sexual activity of a Maasai woman as many Maasai believe. Their heavy workloads, especially during times of nomadic moves, affect them more. The women are expected to build the houses whenever they move to a new place. During this time they also live under unhygienic conditions and, during times of drought, suffer malnutrition because they depend on the animals for their diets. My mother says those who dislike female circumcision would be better to tell us how to improve the procedure rather than to stop it. Why should we be forced to adopt a culture that is not ours?

In my own view, female circumcision should be abolished.I escaped it through the help of OMDC! To start with, it causes a lot of pain to the initiates. Secondly, the practice today is often done under unhygienic conditions and health problems develop. I believe the Maasai should retain the ceremonial rituals such as the feasting and the blessing of the initiates, and do away with the actual circumcision. Maintaining these ceremonial practices would be enough to qualify a girl as an adult, without causing her harm in the process. I plan to use my Commuity Health career to teach people the effects of female circumcision from the medical point of view. I think my community would respond better to a Maasai daughter than to a foreigner.I have also been prepared and taken through many Alternative Rite Of Passage ,mentorship and lifeskills by OMDC while at OMDC Safe House before joining college. I am empowere and I will never allow such to happen to my gil children when I get some. Mary Lekurtut is now in her 20s years of age. completed high school and is currently enrolled in Meru Institute of Business studies,taking a course Diploma course in Community Health. “ I cant wait to go back and serve my community as a Health worker. They are dying out of ignorance. This is the best inheritance I will have gotten from One More Day for Children foundation,my legal guardian!”

OMDC 064: FLORENCE MITEI MATUNGE

Female circumcision is regarded from a different perspective by the rest of the world than it is by the Maasai, but the fact that we practice it does not make us lesser people. According to our traditions and practices, it is meant to have a positive rather than a negative effect on the girl. It is supposed to reduce a woman’s desire for sex and reduce immorality. Another thing is that traditionally, it is a rite of passage. It marks the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. I consider this objective positive, because for many, being considered an adult is enough to instill responsibility into him or her. Although female circumcision does have some positive effects, I do not encourage it. In fact, I am campaigning to encourage Maasai families say no to FGM. The procedure is torture to the girls, and it is unnecessary. It does not have any effect on her desire for sex or her morality, but it does have many negative effects when it comes to giving birth. Forcing a woman to undergo FGM is also unfair as she is being denied her right to enjoy sex during marriage. It may cause death, as the equipment used is mostly shared and may spread diseases such as AIDS. A poorly performed procedure causes excessive bleeding, which causes death or anemia.

Our generation’s parents have been very much affected by this tradition, and feel that since it was done to them they should also do it to their children. In some cases, Christianity and campaign against it by organizations like OMDC has changed this attitude. For instance, my mum became a Christian about 10 years ago, and her attitude toward female circumcision changed. As a result, I was not circumcised. She shielded me against it and would help me to run away when my day and my uncles insisted on it and if not they conduct a ceremony to curse me! I never knew I was capable of runing in thick forest for hours insearch of safety till the threat became obvious. Spent a nigh in the forest,on top af a tree,watching elephants in herds next to me…tired,hungry and scared. But I made it to One More Day Girls` Safe house,where I found peace and love! I am the new face of the Maasai girl and I will do all I can to help educate my community and my people positively and to ensure that I am a person who will be regarded as a source of hope in my community. I chose to undertake Community Health Studies in College purposely to top up knowledge on what OMDC has continuosly talt and mentored me. Gradually we will be able to eliminate this outdated cultural practice. Florence Mitei is now in her early 20s,completed high school last year and is currently undertaking a Diploma course in Community Health at Meru Institute of Business studies and cant wait to go back to the community as a health promoter,to educate them on good hygiene inorder to avoid communicable diseases and also get some little cash to help her grow.

OMDC 062: ALICE NAIMEKU:

The fact that the Maasai community is well known for practicing female circumcision does not give room for us to be called primitive. We have always had reasons behind the practice. In the Maasai community, circumcision is a rite of passage. It is a clear step between childhood and adulthood. Once a woman undergoes circumcision, she is ready for marriage. Maasai believe that the practice helps reduce immorality among girls because they are not allowed to engage in conjugal duties before they undergo circumcision. Boys are circumcised for similar reasons. The Maasai believe that circumcision further helps improve people’s morality because it reduces sexual urge, preventing cases of girls engaging in sex before marriage and giving birth out of wedlock. The Maasai do not perform the practice to harm people, but rather out of love and care for their people, because they are truly concerned about their people’s morality. The circumcision ceremony takes place in early morning. The girl first bathes with cold water, and then the operation is carried out. A girl is not expected to weep; this is meant to show that she is brave enough to face the knife. This gives her fame and respect from the community at large and she becomes a role model for the younger girls to emulate.

Female circumcision is a time-honored practice from the Maasai point of view, but it should be stopped for the betterment of the Maasai girls. Despite the Maasai’s objectives in performing female circumcision, the disadvantages of the practice are increasing. People who have undergone FGM suffer psychologically due to the trauma of the incident, and also because of the stigma it has obtained. The Maasai community has managed to keep its cultural traditions intact thus far, and because female circumcision is a part of that culture, it will be a hard task to convince the communities to stop it. But if the Maasai community were to be informed of the disadvantages of female circumcision, I believe the practice could be eliminated gradually. Because my parents are Christian, I was not circumcised. This decision caused a lot of problems between us and my extended family, and Ihave never been accepted. To avoid it,my mother helped me to hide and run away…..she packed some goat milk in a guard for my journey to OMDC which was 15 kms away. And yes,I made it,I did not let culture dominate my gender. I have stayed away from home however since and during Covid-19 ,when safe house was closed,I had to look for an alternative family. Mum became closer to OMDC and would visit me. Because I have been able to go to school with the help of OMDC, I have not had to get married either. If it were not for my schooling, I would have been married by now. Being a Maasai child, I understand our weaknesses and strengths. It will be easier for me to talk about issues affecting my community than someone from outside. I believe in being a role model for my younger sisters. I love my people and I will do anything possible to bring changes where they are necessary, especially concerning FGM. Alice is now 23 yrs, working as a chef in a hotel within Nanyuki and earning good money after successfully completing a certificate course in food and beverages production from the Nanyuki Vocational Centre. She plans to go back to school to specialize in pastery. She is determined to change the way her community views women, especially regarding female circumcision and education.