The image above shows a typical child bride dressed for her wedding day. In order to obtain her, the older groom will have paid a dowry to her family and she may join several other of his wives or be the first of many. She will have already undergone a very dangerous and painful Female Genital Mutilation procedure. It is unlikely that this girl will have been to school because early marriage would render any education to be considered a waste of money by her parents. Once married the girl will live under the guidance of her mother in law. She is not allowed to own property or to work outside the home. She will typically have seven or more children, all born without medical supervision attended by an older woman known as a "inkaitoyiok" who has no understanding of hygiene or safety. Many Maasai husbands are reluctant, for financial or superstitious reasons, to allow their wives to attend hospitals or clinics when pregnant the inkaitoyiok are not educated so they don't use gloves or sterilised instruments and mortality in childbirth is high.
In some instances it is normal for girls to expect to be raped by visitors to the house.
Education, particularly literacy, empowers women to rise above these challenges, to discover other means of generating income.
By educating a girl, we educate the family and future generations will grow up to respect the place of women within the community.