Timanoi’s father tried to marry her off as soon as she graduated from primary school in 2002 at age 12, but an MGEF scholarship kept her safe and in school. She was the first of five children in a family living in extreme poverty, dependent on relief food during the droughts that plagued them. After high school, Timanoi was accepted to the University of Nairobi, with a major in Nutrition. Her father still wants to marry her off, but in Timanoi's words, "I am not ready to be someone's wife. I would like to achieve my academic goals and change the living standard of our family.” Catherine graduated from the University of Nairobi in 2015 with a degree in Nutrition, received her Kenya Nutrition and Dietitian License in February 2016, and will complete her internship at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi this September.
Gloria Kotente Mumeita
After Gloria completed her first year of secondary school, her parents were no longer able to pay school fees. She was an A student with a bright future ahead of her, so outstanding that letters of recommendation from the headteacher of her primary school and from the assistant chief in the area where she lived were attached to her application for a scholarship. Gloria lived up to these recommendations and graduated from Moi Girls Secondary School in November 2009, achieving an A- on the Kenya national test, almost unheard of for a Maasai girl from rural Kenya. Her dream was to become a doctor, and she will have the opportunity to realize that dream thanks to doctors at Bethesda Emergency Associates and Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, who have joined together to sponsor her medical school education.
Yiamoi was pledged in marriage at the age of two, and was to be married in March 2007 just before her 13th birthday, but an uncle, a neighbor, and her brother stepped in to prevent the marriage after MGEF agreed to give her a scholarship. Yiamoi’s sister was married when she was just 11 years old. Her father, who is illiterate and jobless, has three wives and had been receiving dowry payments for Yiamoi for nine years, a debt he would have had to repay and was unable to do. The community agreed to raise the money to repay the debt so that Yiamoi could go to school. In March 2007, at the age of 13, Yiamoi enrolled in school for the first time, and until 2010 her father continued the threat of carrying out the marriage so he could get the dowry payment. Now he calls regularly to see how she is doing, and brags about his daughter.
Pilale is one of 15 children born to one of her father's three wives. Her mother has no education. Pilale is the fifth child in her birth mother's house. Her father does not believe in educating girls and has already married off his eldest daughter at age 16. The family is extremely poor, and the prospect of a dowry of cows, goats and cash in such a family places Pilale at high risk to be married as soon as she reaches puberty. Pilale is able to go to school and avoid forced marriage with a scholarship from MGEF.