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Maasai Woman Beats Odds to Attend Medical School

Gloria Kotente Mumeita, a medical student at the University of Nairobi, traveled to the U.S. for an 8-week internship.

Gloria Kotente Mumeita, a medical student at the University of Nairobi, traveled to the U.S. for an 8-week internship thanks to the Maasai Girls Education Fund.

Aid for Africa has identified the education of girls and women as a key objective of our mission.  Educate a woman and you educate a nation, so the African saying goes.  We agree.  Over the years, we have supported girls and young women, who otherwise would have been unable to attend school, enroll in school, stay in school and thrive. Aid for Africa’s members have supported thousands of girls in elementary and high school and hundreds in college, technical school and beyond.

When girls in Africa receive an education and earn income, they spend 90 percent of their earnings on their families. When an African girl goes to school for seven or more years, she marries four years later on average than she otherwise would, and she has fewer children than she otherwise would. The children she does have are more likely to be healthy and survive past the age of five.

Members of the Aid for Africa family were fortunate recently to meet  one of the exceptional women who has benefited from support through an Aid for Africa member. Gloria Kotente Mumeita, now in her final year of medical school at the University of Nairobi, traveled to the United States for an 8-week internship at Suburban Hospital and the National Institutes of Health, both in Bethesda, Maryland. Mumeita’s medical school support has been provided by the Maasai Girls Education Fund, an Aid for Africa member.

Not only was Mumeita’s journey to the U.S. extraordinary, so are her accomplishments.  A member of the Maasai tribe, she is only the second Maasai woman from her district to go to medical school and the third Maasai woman in Kenya to become a doctor.

In Kenya, fewer than half of all Maasai girls complete primary school and fewer than 10 percent go on to high school, according to the Maasai Girls Education Fund. Tradition would have had Mumeita share the fate of most Maasai girls under the age of 15. She would have been married to an older man in exchange for a few cows worth about what the family earns in a year–less than $500.

But Mumeita was fortunate. Her family wanted a better life for her. With their support and support for medical school tuition from the Maasai Girls Education Fund, her future will be better, indeed.  Her path to medical school wasn’t easy. In her class of 320, she is one of three Maasai, and the only Maasai woman. “When I look back I can’t believe I got to medical school,” she says.

Mumeita’s success will ripple through the Maasai community. When she completes her training, she will return to her community as a medical doctor says Tracey Pyles, president of Maasai Girls Education Fund. “She will serve her community and be a role model to other Maasai girls and their families.”

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Learn more about Mumeita’s journey to the United States, life as a Maasai woman and the Maasai Girls Education Fund here.

Visit here to learn why educating African girls matters!