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…who worked with her elders to found a school for girls in her Maasai village

Originally posted on TED Blog:

Kakenya-NtaiyaKakenya Ntaiya was engaged at 5-years-old, her family members regularly whispering in her ear, “Your husband just passed by.” This was the traditional path that unfolded before girls in the Maasai village in Kenya where Ntaiya grew up.

[ted_talkteaser id=1672] “In Maasai culture, the boys are brought up to be warriors, the girls are brought up to be mothers,” says Ntaiya in today’s incredible talk, given at TEDxMidAtlantic. “Everything I had to do from that moment was to prepare me to be the perfect woman by age 12.”

But Ntaiya had a different dream — to be a teacher. And so she offered her father a trade: she would go through with the traditional ceremony that marked her rite of passage into womanhood — which included clitoral circumcision — if he allowed her to go back to school and continue her education.

“The day before the ceremony, we…

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