October 3, 2012
Maasai Women End Traditional Female Circumcision
Two-day ceremony marks end of genital mutilation for 52 young Maasai girls
By Denise Darcel
In a traditional two-day ceremony in Kenya, the Maasai, one of the oldest cultures in Africa, changed the fate of 52 young girls in a historic alternative rite of passage performed without female circumcision.
Maasai men and women who accepted the new ceremony took a monumental leap forward in health and education for their culture, causing reactions across the globe.
Three Maasai women were selected by the African Schools of Kenya (ASK) to talk with the girls about issues ranging from their basic human rights as young women to reasons for using birth control.
Meals were prepared and delivered to the girls, and they stayed together overnight in the classroom on Aug. 27.
“There was no holding back on the information given to the 52 girls attending the first Alternative Rites of Passage without cutting,” said Teri Gabrielsen, founder of ASK, which funds educational courses in Africa.
The 52 girls, including the chief’s own daughters, paraded through their village early Saturday morning wearing their traditional all-black dresses and crowns, slowly walking to the school room for the very first two-day ARP ceremony.