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 Mumeita Kotente
After Gloria completed her first year of secondary school, her parents were no longer able to pay school fees. She was an excellent student with a bright future ahead of her, so outstanding that letters of recommendation from the principal of her primary school and the assistant chief of her region were attached to her application for an MGEF scholarship. Gloria lived up to these recommendations and graduated from Moi Girls Secondary School in November 2009, achieving an A- on the Kenyan national exam, almost unheard of for a Maasai girl from rural Kenya. Doctors at Bethesda Emergency Associates and Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland 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.
Lornah is one of 15 children born to one of her father's three wives. Her mother is uneducated. Lornah's father does not believe in educating girls and 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 Lornah at high risk of an early marriage. Lornah is able to go to school and avoid the fate of her elder sister with a scholarship from MGEF.