Monday, April 30, 2018

Asante Africa Foundation - Educating Children

©2006 Kim Giancaterino. All Rights Reserved.
Asante Africa Foundation

Would You Trade Your Daughter for a Cow?
A Cow? You Must Be Kidding?

Asante Africa Foundation
The very idea seems absurd, but for desperate families in parts of rural Africa, it's an all too common answer to a present-day economic problem. Thus, when a family runs out of food and sees no other solution, they will strike a deal with a neighbor who has cows.

What happens to a young girl in this situation? If she was lucky enough to be attending school, she is pulled out, never to return. Sadly, her future becomes one of servitude, usually as a house maid. A less fortunate girl might become a wife to her new owner, who is likely to be three or four times her age. There is no turning back for these young, powerless girls.

Since 2007, Asante Africa Foundation has been helping to provide education for rural East African children, particularly girls at risk. Last year marked a turning point for one of Asante Africa's students, a 14-year-old Tanzanian girl named Kalay.

One of six children, Kalay was determined to attend secondary school and realize her dream of becoming a teacher. Despite the support of her mother and high marks on her eligibility exams, Kalay faced a common dilemma.

Her family did not have the money for tuition, uniforms, and other necessary living expenses. Kalay's father began to prepare his daughter for circumcision, a symbolic and traumatic ritual many young girls endure before marriage.

In the end, Kalay's determination paid off. With help from her teacher and a scholarship from Asante Africa Foundation, Kalay is now attending secondary school. Wise beyond her years, Kalay knows that education is the key to improving not just her own future, but the quality of life for her entire community.


Education is the Key to a Brighter Future
Asante Africa Foundation
Photographed by Heward Jue

Humble Beginnings Inspired by a Vacation to Africa

Asante Africa Foundation
Mark Makes a New Friend
While on a photo safari in Tanzania, my friends Erna and Mark were troubled by the poverty and absence of such basics as clean water and sanitation facilities in many of the rural areas they visited.

Erna and Mark have always been Just Do It! kind of people. Both multi-degreed engineers, they realized that such simple things as fresh water lines and bowls of porridge could dramatically improve living conditions for the people of these rural communities.

During their trip they met Emmy Moshi, who owned an ecotourism business and used profits from her company to build schoolhouses in poor villages. Emmy and her team worked with several communities, providing safe havens for children to study and learn. When Erna and Mark returned from their vacation and researched ways to assist this effort, Asante Africa Foundation was formed.


Erna Grasz
Asante is the Swahili word for thanks, representing appreciation for the rich learning and experiences we achieve, so much greater than what we are able to give.

The Reality ... A Severely Compromised Learning Environment
Asante Africa Foundation
Photographed by Heward Jue

A Vacation Ignites a Cause

Asante Africa Foundation
School Supplies are Delivered!
Erna returned to Africa a few months later and spent two weeks in Tanzania and Kenya. While there, she initiated several projects, including a nursery school for 300 children, desks, books and school supplies for two primary schools, and sponsorship for a child at boarding school for one year.

Early on it became clear that the children were unable to concentrate with empty, growling stomachs. First priority was potable water and a warm breakfast for the young students. Safety was another concern.

In some areas children were simply taught outdoors with no facilities or school supplies. The new schoolhouses were embraced by communities anxious to provide their youngest citizens with education and the opportunity for a more hopeful and productive future.

Erna also cleared the way for water lines in one village, despite sabotage efforts from parties unknown. While the project was underway, Erna and her team discovered plastic bags stuffed inside the water lines to obstruct water flow. Water lines dramatically improve living conditions for communities, but they must be approved by local government leaders.


Classrooms, However Rustic, are a Blessing to the Community
Asante Africa Foundation
Photographed by Heward Jue


Don't Exchange Girls for Cows

Asante Africa Foundation
Government Poster in Kenya
The sentiment expressed here is no joke. Posters bearing this message have been widely distributed in a number of Kenyan schools and community areas. The government printed the posters in an effort to discourage local farmers from trading their daughters for livestock.

​Another obstacle to their education is the need for water. In many villages, young girls are responsible for fetching water, which is used for preparing porridge, watering food crops, and bathing. When the closest water source is miles away, the girls spend hours on this vital chore and are vulnerable to attack.

The situation is harsh. Even under the best of circumstances, young girls are at risk of being targeted by rapists. According to law and custom, girls are no longer allowed to attend school if they become pregnant. And of course, time spent fetching water is time not spent in class.


Precious Water
Something as simple as watering trees and plants creates huge positive health impacts for a village. In addition to its role in producing food, moist soil prevents dust from circulating and causing eye infections.

A Long Walk to Water
by Linda Sue Park

Boarding School Students Fetch Bath Water
Asante Africa Foundation
Photographed by Heward Jue

Don't Exchange Girls for Cows ... Give Them Education
See the Entire Give Girls Education Collection

Rural Classroom in Kenya with Mud Walls and Dirt Floors
Asante Africa Foundation
Photographed by Heward Jue


TANZANIA
Emmy Moshi
Owner, IntoAfrica Ecotourism

Asante Africa Foundation
Emmy Moshi
Tanzania Program Manager, Emmy Moshi, is dedicated to building schoolhouses and improving learning conditions for children in poor villages.

IntoAfrica Ecotourism directly supports the local communities by hiring local staff, purchasing local food and patronizing locally owned hotels, campsites and facilities. Though charity is appreciated, long-term, sustainable change is only possible by educating and working directly with the people of these rural communities.


Erna Grasz
Asante Africa Foundation is constantly guided by Emmy's phrase, "You are thinking like an American, not an African," reminding all partners that despite good intentions we must always work within the local culture and respect their ways.


KENYA
Hellen Nkuraiya
Kenya Advisor

Asante Africa Foundation
Hellen Nkuraiya
Hellen Nkuraiya is the principal and lead teacher at a remote school two hours from the town of Narok, Kenya. A Maasai woman, Hellen created a better life for herself through education, and is passionate about educating Maasai girls.

To achieve this goal, Hellen has forged relationships with top-tier boarding schools and has been instrumental in identifying academically talented young women in need of sponsorship. Just $750 per year is enough to cover school fees, room, board, and supplies for one student. Thanks to generous supporters of Asante Africa Foundation, four girls are now studying at St. Mary’s School in Narok.


Hellen Nkuraiya
When I was 9 years old, a nun came to our school and convinced me that I was smart and that I could have choices if I had an education. As a result, I went to college and became a teacher and now I am that person telling young people that they can have choices through education.

KENYA
Chief Salaton Ole' Ntutu
Maasai Tribal Chief and Warrior Visits California

Asante Africa Foundation
Chief Salaton Ole’ Ntutu
In 2007, Asante Africa Foundation hosted Maasai tribal chief Salaton Ole’ Ntutu, visiting from his beloved Kenya. A shaman from the nomadic Maasai tribe, Ntutu is a trained warrior who can survive among wild animals in the harsh and challenging African Savanna.

For 7 years, beginning at age 14, Ntutu survived in the African bush with only a blanket and a spear. He now trains young warriors to carry on the Maasai tradition.

Ntutu works on social and economic issues pertaining to his tribe. He built a rescue shelter to protect young girls from the common, but illegal, practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and to promote the idea of alternative rites of passage.

He is also involved in education about HIV/AIDS and monogamy, and in health and sanitation projects. Through his tremendous knowledge of African wildlife, he has contributed significantly towards Kenya’s community and tourist industry.

Ntutu came to the United States to forge a link between his tribal community and ours. His goal is to educate his people on sustainable development and conservation of land to ensure protection of future generations. During his visit, Ntutu conducted several seminars and presentations to youth about the life of a warrior.


Interview With Chief Salaton Ole' Ntutu on NBC Affiliate KRON 4
Broadcast October 21, 2007 during Chief Ntutu’s visit to the San Francisco Bay Area


Don't Exchange Girls for Cows ... Give Them Education
Available in a Selection of Colors and Sizes for the Whole Family

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Erna Grasz, Asante Africa Foundation Founder
Asante Africa Foundation

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership: Nonprofit Sector
by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

School Teacher in Rural Kenya
Asante Africa Foundation
Photographed by Heward Jue

Don't Exchange Girls for Cows ... Give Them Education
Each Zazzle HEART product is handmade in Kenya featuring a custom Maasai pattern. Sales of HEART items benefit the Malaika Mums, mothers of special needs children who strive to be self-sustaining and accepted by society.

Asante Africa Foundation

ECOTOURISM
IntoAfrica
By choosing to come on holiday with IntoAfrica, you'll be supporting the local economy and enabling generous donations to the people of rural Africa. A variety of trips are offered, many with visits to locally organized activities in Tanzania, Kilimanjaro, and Kenya.

Kwetu eco-Tourism & Safaris
Conservation efforts in Africa are slowly improving, especially when local people receive the benefits of nature tourism. By joining a tour you'll be supporting the local economy and protecting the environment. Kwetu Tanzania hires and trains local people, supports local schools and conservation programs, and takes care not to harm the environment.

DiscoverTZ
Owned and operated in Tanzania, DiscoverTZ is uniquely qualified to share the beauty of the region. A staff of knowledgeable guides will travel with you on a once-in-a-lifetime journey. Whether your interest is wildlife photography, nature exploration, or relaxing in an amazing environment, DiscoverTZ will design the perfect holiday for you and your family.

Let's Explore ... Safari (Lonely Planet Kids)
Packed with Sticker Pages, Puzzles, and Activities

Asante Africa Foundation

Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide
by Peter Allison

Asante Africa Foundation

Asante Africa Foundation


Courtesies
Asante Africa Foundation
Kenyan poster photograph by afeatheronthebreathofgod
Serengeti elephant photograph by 4144132
Africa safari sunset photograph by cocoparisienne
Africa elephant sunset photograph by kalhh

Learn More About Asante Africa Foundation
Asante Africa Foundation

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