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Project: Emmanuel Center Girls Camp

Educational girls camp to prevent female genital mutilation

a group of girls at the Emmanuel Center smiling and posing playfully together

Each year, the Emmanuel Center provides an educational camp for girls during the season when female genital mutilation (FGM) is traditionally performed in the Kuria community.  Safely away from the cutting ceremony, girls at the camp are taught about their options and opportunities beyond FGM and early marriage. 

Help us fund the 2022 girls camp and support the Emmanuel Center to empower girls to protect their bodies and futures

About the camp

The Kuria are one of a few tribes in Tanzania who still practice Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Once this ritual is performed on a girl, she is considered “ready for marriage” and will command a higher bride price. Each two years, Kuria tribal elders stage a week-long ceremony to perform FGM on girls in the Gamasara community.

The Emmanuel Center girls’ camp is scheduled throughout that week, providing a safe and educational alternative for girls aged 9–13.
The camp is hosted at King Emmanuel Primary School and the camp facilitators are women from the community. The five days involve classes and creative activities like crafts, plays and songs, with the aim of teaching girls about their own potential, opportunities and rights as women.

In 2018, the first camp was run with 83 girls. Since then, the Center has run a camp almost every year (including non-ceremony years), with increasing numbers of girls attending. It is still a challenge to get community support, but we have committed to fund the 2022 camp to maintain this safe alternative, combat stigma against girls who chose not to undergo FGM, and show girls and their families there is another future for Kuria women.

Where your donation will go

The 2022 camp will run in December this year with 80-100 girls. It needs funding of AUD$4000 – here’s where your donation will go:

Food for attending girls and facilitators. Bedding - blankets and mattresses for the overnight stay. T-shirts to promote the camp for the coming year. School uniforms as post-camp gifts to each girl to encourage them to pursue secondary school. Facilitator pay - all camp facilitators are women from the Gamasara community.

About the Emmanuel Center for Women and Children

Eric and Elizabeth Soard were working in the Gamasara community and were invited to a funeral service for a twelve-year old boy named Emmanuel who had died of malaria. They asked how it had happened, and heard this story.

Emmanuel’s father had three wives, but only treated his first wife and her children as family to be cared for. His mother, the second wife, had no power and no resources of her own, so tried in vain to convince the father to pay for malaria medicine. Emmanuel had died for a lack of medicine costing approximately $3.

Eric and Liz set up the Emmanuel Center to provide community education and development, through the ministry of the United Methodist Church. The Center offers a safe place to empower women to build self-advocacy particularly in the areas of income, health, and basic rights.