THE MKURU MAASAI COMMUNITY NEEDS YOUR HELP.
Because of the Covid-19 emergency, Jeremiah, Timotheo, Sara, Janeth and Abraham can no longer afford food and medical care, nor can they provide education for their children.
In the past few days we received an urgent communication from Jacobo, Manager of Mkuru Training Camp (MTC). The MTC is a meeting place, study, and research centre for environmental protection, run by the local Maasai community and created with the help of Istituto Oikos.
The emergency caused by Covid-19 has affected the village and the people who run the Mkuru Training Camp (MTC), since the whole community is supported by international tourism, which has collapsed after the pandemic.
Due to job losses and increasing poverty among the population, Tanzania's natural resources are under threat. Forests are in danger of being destroyed to produce charcoal to sale at the market, wildlife is in danger of being prey to poachers, forests are burnt to make way for pasture.
Without a source of income, families in Mkuru cannot afford food, medical care, and education for their children.
Right now, their only hope is us!
The appeal comes directly from Jacobo:
"The Mkuru Training Camp supports our entire community, and allows us to work to support our children and families. It teaches us and the new generations to take care of natural resources, the territory and to deal with cultures different from our own. It is the only possible future for all of us. Help us make it happen."
We know that many of us are facing difficult times here in Italy, but even a very small gesture can help save Mkuru. What we will gather will be used to deal with the crisis generated by the pandemic and ensure a future for the community.
President Oikos Institute
THE MKURU MAASAI COMMUNITY NEEDS YOUR HELP.DONATE NOW
The stories of our protagonists
"The job at Mkuru Training Camp (MTC) saved me and my family from extreme poverty".
Jeremiah is 42 years old and lives in Mkuru’s Maasai village.
"It was difficult for us to find a job and integrate into the community. Our nomadic people have always lived on sheep farming, accustomed to travelling in the African steppes to follow the cycle of nature. The climate crisis, deforestation and uncontrolled use of resources have changed our lives and starved our people. Thanks to Istituto Oikos, which takes care of our community, we can see a future for us and our children.
Jeremiah holds the task of keeping Mkuru Training Camp clean, a commitment he carries out with great professionalism and precision. "My work at MTC is hard but it gives me a reason to live: we Maasai men are great workers and knowing that we can provide for our community gives us new hope.
"I have a wife and three children aged 6, 9 and 12, Nemburis, Rosi and Nashipai. We live in a small house with a metal roof."
Timotheo is the night watchman at Mkuru Training Camp.
Timotheo's wife takes care of household chores, such as providing food, wood for cooking and heating and drinking water: to get to the well she is forced to walk long, uneven and dangerous stretches, carrying many litres of water on her shoulders. During the day Timotheo helps his children to study and immediately after dinner he starts the night shift.
"With the money I earn, I can pay the school expenses for Nemburis, Rosi and Nashipai: they are academic kids, school for them is a new world where they learn things that neither my wife nor I know. We are trying to save money so that we can send our children to school: without my job, my children will not be able to continue their studies".
Sara is 42 and a mother of five.
The youngest is 8 years old and the oldest daughter, Lesikar, has just turned 27: "Lesikar is a real blessing because she helps me a lot with her brothers while I am at work to feed my children. My work is the only source of income for our family."
Sara lives in the Maasai village and works at Mkuru Training Camp as an assistant cook: "This is our salvation: with what I earn I can buy food, medicine, books and notebooks for my children. I like working here, I have the opportunity to meet people who come from faraway countries and who, with their stories, make me travel with my imagination.
Janeth is 24 years old, a proud young Maasai woman and works in the small social enterprise called Tanzania Maasai Women Art - TMWA, which Oikos Institute has helped to create.
Mkuru Training Camp (MTC) hosts the handcrafted products made by Maasai women: "Thanks to MTC I have the opportunity to support my parents and my 2-year-old son. Tourists buy my accessories and I am very proud of it because I know that what I create arrives in faraway countries and many other people see what I can accomplish".
In addition to Janeth, 200 other women have a stable income, thanks to the production and sale of accessories. With these funds, Maasai women in Mkuru can guarantee food security and medical care for their children. In addition, these small businesses, which work with natural methods such as vegetable skin tanning, help to protect the land and local natural resources, while preserving a thousand-year-old tradition that was in danger of disappearing.
The forests are an essential resource for the community of Mkuru and it is thanks to Abraham's work that we can protect them from degradation and deforestation.
"I am 38 years old, living in the Maasai village of Mkuru with my wife Tumaini and our four children: Mariamu aged 13, Yohana aged 9, Monica aged 7 and little Filipo aged 5. I try to teach them the value of our forests, the great respect with which I work every day to protect them. They are our life.
Abraham works at the Mkuru Trainig Camp (MTC) as a Village Game Scout, guardians of the environment who every day watch over the community forests so that no trees are felled to produce charcoal, check that the areas dedicated to forests are not destroyed to make room for grazing and watch over all the natural resources on which the lives of the Maasai people depend. Without them, we could not protect the wealth of Tanzania's natural heritage.
Since 1996 Istituto Oikos has been working in Arusha Region in Northern Tanzania: an alliance, born 23 years ago with the Maasai community of Mkuru, today stronger than ever. In these territories we work together with the local people to promote the sustainable use of the fragile natural resources on which the life and income of an entire people depends.
It is from this alliance that Mkuru Training Camp (MTC), a centre for training and research on good environmental practices, was founded in 2003. In these years, thanks to MTC, many initiatives, experimentations, and economic activities were born, such as a small community tourism enterprise; a cooperative of women "Tanzania Maasai Women Art", which shifted the cutting of plants to produce charcoal with the handicraft production of accessories; the CERC (Community Energy Resource Centre) for the diffusion of renewable energies and, since 2016, an experimental centre for the vegetable tanning of leather.
In August we are launching MkuRun, the solidarity and multicultural marathon to protect the country's natural heritage and support the Maasai communities.
This year due to the health emergency we will not be able to hold the 5th edition of MkuRun. An appointment highly awaited by the inhabitants of Mkuru, which, thanks to the funds collected in recent years, has given the opportunity to build schools, create organic gardens for feeding children, provide families with energy through solar panels, create and manage 9 community forests, and protect over 238 hectares of forests.
We decided to support the community of Mkuru by starting a fundraiser in support of all the other people in the community.
JOIN US! You too can virtually "run" this solidarity marathon from home and support the Maasai village of Mkuru.