Pastoralist Child Foundation is a 501C3 registered nonprofit organization based in Glen Ridge, NJ. Sayydah Garrett, Founder & President learned about harmful tribal practices while on a solo safari to Kenya in August, 2012. Her dream was to see elephants in their natural habitat. While in Samburu, Sayydah visited a Maasai village and was fascinated by the beautiful, hospitable people who live in huts without running water or electricity. “Pastoralists” are semi-nomadic people whose livelihood is dependent upon the herding of cattle, goats, sheep, and camels. When she returned to her lodge in Samburu National Reserve, the restaurant captain told her that she had visited his village. He talked about 2 harmful practices that 97% of all girls and women experience - female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced early marriage. He said, “We must eradicate these 2 vices in our community. I have seen so much suffering. Girls are dropping out of primary school and living unhealthy and unhappy lives. I want to stop this practice before it’s my youngest sister’s turn to get cut. I want our girls to go to school and get an education.” When Samuel expressed his wish to start a community based organization to educate his community about the harmful effects of FGM and child marriage, and promote the importance of education, Sayydah offered to help. She has many years of nonprofit experience as a certified grant writer and fundraiser. Samuel was ecstatic! He pointed at Sayydah and exclaimed, “Great! YOU will be our President,” and Sayydah said, “OK!” Pastoralist Child Foundation was founded by 2 complete strangers who had only met the day before. So, Sayydah did see many elephants and returned home to New Jersey with a promise to help improve the lives of girls and women in Kenya.
Stage of Business
Pastoralist Child Foundation (PCF) is passionately dedicated to eradicating FGM and child marriage in Samburu and Maasai Mara, Kenya. FGM is a human rights violation, a form of gender-based violence, and illegal. Two hundred million (200,000,000) women and girls around the world have been forced to undergo FGM. PCF hosts workshops and Alternative Rites of Passage as a replacement for “the cut” and promises to preserve the beautiful aspects of the tribal culture. The workshops are held during school holidays for girls ages 8-17 in April, August, and December. The curriculum includes:
Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)
HIV/AIDS and STD’s
The importance of education
PCF also provides scholarships for girls to attend secondary boarding schools. We’re currently in need of additional sponsors to assist girls who are very low-income and under constant pressure to undergo FGM and get married. The families are very poor and marry off their girls to older men in exchange for livestock. This breaks our hearts.
PCF also hosts adult and elder community dialogues. The tribes are highly patriarchal and we have come to realize that men must be part of the discussions and solutions. We have begun hosting workshops for boys ages 8-17. Many boys and men have openly declared that FGM and child marriage must end. However, these 2 practices are very deeply rooted in Samburu and Maasai Mara, Kenya. PCF has been instrumental in reducing the rates of FGM and child marriage. To date, we have saved 2,000 girls from FGM! But, there’s still work to do. We need funding to scale our successful curriculum in other villages. We’re determined to end FGM within a generation.
51 Clark StreetGlen Ridge, NJ 07028