The Nanginyi Foundation
The Nanginyi Foundation was founded in January 2017 with the main goal of: ‘Giving Maasai children from poor families the opportunity to go to school to improve their perspective for the future’. The Nanginyi Foundation gives the children the opportunity to complete a full school carreer, which means that they have the chance to complete the nursery school, primary school, secondary school and the professional education that follows. We believe that this significantly improves their position on the labour market. By giving them this oportunity we can break the cycle of poverty in which many Maasai families live. Giving the opportunity to education for the children therefore provides a sustainable and structural improvement for the Maasai families that we sponsor.
As cultural anthropologists and development sociologists, the founders of the Nanginyi Foundation gained a lot of knowledge about development aid and the importance of involving the local people in development projects. The Nanginyi Foundation therefore attaches value to the ideas and beliefs of the Maasai. This is why our cooperation with our local coordinator Mathayo is very important for us. Our projects are established with the consultation of different Maasai families. Together with the local consultation, the projects were formed by knowledge and pratical experience of one of our founders with educational projects for children in Tanzania.
In the following chapter the founders and the local coordinator will be introduced:
In January 2016 I departed to Tanzania to become a (voluntary) project coordinator of an education project. In April 2016 I met Nanginyi for the first time in the boma (a Maasai village) in Baraka (Tanzania), where she lives with her family. The cheerful girl liked me as much as I liked her and even though we speak different languages we always had fun together. I called her my Maasai sister! After that first visit I visited the boma several times and I developed a strong bond with the family of Nanginyi. In the Maasai culture it is the tradition to circumsise girls and arrange a marriage when they are still young. When I lived in the Maasai boma for a week one of the girls was circumcised, something that touched me. I did not want Nanginyi to follow the same path, so I discussed it with her family and I concluded I wanted to send her to school to give her a different and better future. Her family doesn’t have the means to give her the chance to go to school so this is why I founded the Nanginyi Foundation in Januari 2017, together with my friend Milou. ‘Nanginyi’ is a word in the Maasai language (Maa) which means: ‘a young person/something small’. This is a good reflection of the foundation. The Nanginyi Foundation is a small-scale project in Tanzania, which gives young Maasai children from poor families the chance to go to school. On the 2nd of May I registered Nanginyi at Sasa School where she started her tuition on the 8th of May. I am super proud that she is going to school full days already, and that she is doing very well, but most of all I am glad that she enjoys learning new things! I hope that we can give more children the opportunity to go to school in the coming years.
2016 was an eventful year for me and my family, with the loss of my two grandmothers (my ‘oma’ and ‘opoe’) in March and October. These two women ment a lot to me in my life and therefore I dedicate this foundation to them. With all her stories about the time she had spent in Tanzania with her family when my grandfather did development work there, my ‘oma’ let me dream about Tanzania since I was a little girl. She always inspired me to travel and to explore the world and she often said: ‘If I could do it again, I would have travelled more when I had your age’. I will always remember her as a strong and brave woman who saw a lot of the world and shared her wisdom from her travels with us. My ‘opoe’ was a caring and loving woman, a real mother figure! When she was young she was left with 4 young daughters when her husband never came back from his last trip (a fisherman who died at sea). I remember her as a quiet, caring, but also a very brave and strong woman who always enjoyed the little things in life! In spite of the big loss and the fact that I really miss my grandmothers, I am very grateful for their inspiration and their wisdom of life that they shared with me. They left behind a wonderful family that I am proud to be a member of! I am glad that I can follow the footsteps of my grandparents with this foundattion!
Mathayo was born in October 1992 in a Maasai boma in Baraka, Tanzania. He is the older brother of Nanginyi and Lepapayai and lives in the same boma with his family. Mathayo is the breadwinner of the family. After finishing primary school Mathayo went to look for a job because his family did not have the means to take care of everybody. Mathayo was first working voluntary for us, next to his job as a guard, but when he couldn’t combine the 2 jobs anymore he started to be employed by the Nanginyi Foundation. Next to the email contact we have with the school, we like to have someone in the field who can visit the school in person, attent parents meetings, and who can make sure our children have all the school supplies they need (pens, pencils, exercise books, shoes etc.). Mathayo is also taking care of our food project, in which the Nanginyi Foundation provides food for the poorest Maasai families in the neighbourhood. Mathayo buys the food (mais, rice, beans, fruit and vegetables) and distributes it to the families that are sponsored by the foundation. Through whatsapp we have direct contact with Mathayo so we have a direct link with our projects in Tanzania, something that is very important according to us. Mathayo is very happy that he can help the foundation by being a local coordinator. He is eager to explain you this in the following video:
When Mar-Lisa asked me to come visit her in Tanzania, I quickly made up my mind. I had already heard many wonderful stories about her adventures in Tanzania and the Maasai family that she had befriended. This I wanted to see with my own eyes! Shortly after I arrived I got to know Mathayo and he invited us to spend some days in the boma for Christmas. It became a Christmas I will never forget! Soon after leaving Tanzania we decided to start the Nanginyi Foundation. By giving the children access to education their future will improve significantly while future generations will likely profit from this as well. I am very proud that we founded the Nanginyi Foundation and that Nanginyi is having a great time at school. We will do everything we can to ensure that more and more children get the same opportunity in the coming years!