Tumaini Paulo Laizer is a twelve year old Maasai girl; her story, though
typical for many of the girls MWEDO works with, is unforgettable. A
runaway bride, Tumaini could have been married with a baby by now; last
year, after her father’s death, her mother arranged her marriage to a
man in the village, accepting the dowry he offered.
That’s when Tumaini first ran away, traveling the four hours from her village in Kisimiri region to the big town of Arusha for the first time, to find MWEDO.
But with only fifteen scholarships available per year, and over 400 applicants, Tumaini’s application couldn’t be accommodated. Unable to turn away this vivacious little girl with a personality sizes bigger than her body, Scholar, a woman who works for MWEDO, paid the USD$450 out of her own pocket for tuition and board at a school Tumaini’s hometown and gave her a new pair of shoes, and sent her back to school.
Tumaini returned to Scholar and MWEDO in June 2010, when the tuition money ran out, but Scholar was only able to pay for a few months of school, and all MWEDO scholarships had already been allocated. That’s when Tumaini met ROTH volunteer Kasia, who immediately fell in love with this quick-witted girl with a tiny frame and a gigantic personality. Hearing of her story, Kasia promised to find the funds to keep Tumaini in school, and the two set off to the ROTH house to find clothes and anything else she might need for school. On the way Tumaini kept insisting that she’d be attending Maasai Women Secondary School when it was finished, which she’d seen in Facebook photos Kasia showed her. Upon arriving, co-founder Frédérique, volunteer coordinator Annie and volunteer Christine jumped up to find Tumaini everything she needed; clothing, toiletries, stationary, food and pocket money. Kenyan volunteer and ROTH scholar David slipped her 5,000 shillings as she left.
In Swahili, Tumaini means hope. With the few hundred dollars a year that it will cost to keep her in school, this girl undoubtedly has the strength and courage to be a leader, or whatever else she wants to be. She’s already proved it. Kasia has set up a Giving Page through the fundraising website Canada Helps to raise money specifically for Tumaini’s education. Tumaini will soon officially be our newest ROTH scholar, and we’re proud to welcome her.
ROTH is proud to sponsor Tumaini’s education. If you would like to contribute to Tumaini’s scholarship, please make a donation.
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