Archive for December, 2009

UN Deputy Secretary-General attends New York Emusoi book launch

Dr Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, attended the launch of Emusoi: Maasai girls tell their stories on Monday December 14th.
There were more than 100 guests at the event, which took place at the Mercy Corps Action Center to End World Hunger, Battery Park, New York. Guests included members of Emusoi director Sr Mary Vertucci’s family, several of her sisters from Maryknoll, as well as a number of Sr Mary’s old college friends, faithful supporters of the Emusoi Centre, and distinguished representatives from UN agencies and UN diplomatic missions, schools, colleges and NGOs.
A large number of copies of both Emusoi and Dogodogo were sold and many guests promised to urge schools and colleges to use the books as texts for teaching and learning global citizenship.

Left to right: HE Mr Augustine Mahiga - Tanzanian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr Amalle Daou, Dr Asha-Rose Migiro - Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Mrs Kasia Parham, Mrs Elizabeth Mahiga, HE Mr Philip Parham - UK Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN. (Photo by Russell Bruns.)

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December 15, 2009 at 3:52 pm Leave a comment

Do kids in Tanzania play ball games?

Second graders at Northside Center for Child Development, New York, asked interesting questions about the lives of street children in Tanzania after listening to the stories of the Dogodogo boys on Wednesday December 9th. (Photo by Ms Kendra.)

The students learned that children of their own age in other parts of the world do not enjoy the right to play, and to have fun, When they heard how Edward was forced to do household chores for his aunt and uncle while the rest of the family sat down to eat, Jennifer asked, “Do kids in Tanzania play ball games?” Brandon asked, “When do they play?” and Joseph added, “Do they like Pokemon cards?”

The US students were clearly struck by the differences between their own lives and those of the Dogodogo boys. Both Jaden and Randiell asked, “Do any kids go to school?” when they heard how Isaac used to watch his friends going off to primary school, wishing that he could go with them.

The kids’ teacher, Mr Nick Felts, said the kids at Northside were especially taken with the illustrations in the book because these were all drawn by the Dogodogo boys themselves.

December 10, 2009 at 12:56 pm Leave a comment

College of St Elizabeth alumnae and friends pledge support for Maasai girls

An Emusoi book signing event was held by City of Silver author Pat King and David Clark in their New York apartment on Friday December 4th.

Pat King became a champion of the Emusoi girls when she discovered that both she and Emusoi Centre director, Sister Mary Vertucci, are alumnae of the College of St Elizabeth, Morristown, New Jersey. “Women who studied at St Elizabeth’s stick together,” Pat told me. “The friends I made at college are friends for life.”

Among the 30 guests at the event was Sister Jacqueline Burns SC, President Emerita of the college (1981-97). Sister Jacqui, herself widely respected for her intellect and devotion to the poor, paid tribute to the work done by Sister Mary to transform the lives of hundreds of young Maasai women through education. “I am so proud that Sister Mary is putting into practice the ethos of service that lies at the heart St Elizabeth’s mission,” she said.

Other guests bought generous numbers of Emusoi copies. They pledged support for Sister Mary’s work and undertook to spread the word about an inspirational place in the heart of Maasailand where the crucial role played by women’s education in the fight against world poverty is not just a theory, but a reality.

December 5, 2009 at 3:42 pm 3 comments

Thanksgiving at the Dominican Academy, New York

Students at the Dominican Academy, New York, gave thanks last week for all the opportunities made possible through their high school education.

They invited me to speak at a Thanksgiving Assembly on their campus in East 68th Street because they had heard about Emusoi and wanted to learn more about the challenges facing young Maasai women in their struggle to get a secondary education.

The students listened to the stories of some of the Maasai girls featured in the book and watched a short movie about the work of the Emusoi Centre that was made last year by a young British film director, Kat Hodgkinson. The young women were clearly very moved by the differences they perceived when they compared their own school experiences with those of their contemporaries in Maasailand.

“How can we help?” asked one senior.

“Tell people about the book!” I urged. “There are 100 of you in this assembly hall. If you each go home and tell 10 people, that’s 1,000 more who have heard the voices of these courageous Maasai girls. If each of them tells 10 people, that makes 10,000 more. And amongst all those people, surely there will be some who are prepared to do more than listen? Surely they will also take action? Like Sister Mary did at Emusoi?”

Dominican Academy religion teacher, Ms Katherine Leo wrote afterwards: “(the students) were asking today about purchasing the books etc…..you encouraged them not only to perform acts of charity by donating money, but also encouraged them to work for justice by spreading the word about Emusoi…”

Student Sara Granda commented: “Thank you so much for coming to Dominican Academy to speak about the Massai girls. I really appreciated you coming, I think I really learned a lot about the girls. I would love to learn more about them. I am planning on ordering your Maasai book. I would like to thank you and hope to meet you again sometime.”

December 1, 2009 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment


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