Much has been accomplished. Much still needs to be done!
The Olooloitikoshi Girl’s Rescue Center (GRC) is now in its 17th year of existence. The work has really only just begun. There are so many girls who desperately need help! This tragic practice of marrying young girls to older men has many long-lasting effects which include physical, emotional and social. The GRC home provides a safe haven where these girls can pursue their dreams of an education and an independent life without fear.
As of July 2020, the center has rescued 160+ girls who range in age from 7 to 16. Each of these girls is given an education and taught life skills as part of their care. We have a 100% graduation rate from secondary school, consisting of over 100 secondary school graduates. Normally, only 29% of the girls in Kenya ever finish secondary school due to the tragic practices of female genital mutilation (FGM), early marriage, and poverty. We also have a Transition Program for secondary graduates putting them through local colleges to earn degrees that will help them to become employable and self-sustaining. Education is the key to these young girls becoming an asset to their families, to their communities and to the country of Kenya.
Starting with the purchase of 10 acres of land in 2007 the project has grown to become one of the finest centers in Kenya. The center is seen by the community as a central part of their identity and purpose. The construction has also given work to dozens of men from the community which has made a difference in the economic status of the district.
The Girls Rescue Center is providing “a hope and a future” for these girls and will continue to do so for many more girls as funding becomes available and construction progresses.
We Have Achieved:
Over 160+ girls rescued
A new well and water tanks- Thank you Rotary International for your help
New bath/shower building
Kitchel Hall, a dining and meeting facility has been completed
New multi-purpose classroom for seminars and clinics
Irrigation system for commercial 5 1/2 acre vegetable farm
Solar powered electrical system
Over 400 fruit trees planted and established
Dairy project that provides milk for the Rescue Center
Completion of a 48 bed dorm/guest house
Gray water filtration system to re-use water on the farm
All-weather road to the center
Office Building for CMA and Saruni International staff
New Computer Lab and Study Hall
SARUNI is a Maasai name. The literal meaning is “the one who rescues”. This name was given to our Executive Director Mark in 2008 by a group of Maasai warriors upon hearing that Mark and his wife Tina came to Kenya to rescue young girls. Girls as young as 10 years old are required to go through a ceremony, a rite of passage to “womanhood” and then are married off to old men in their 70’s. This “rite of passage” to be “ready” to be married is FGM, Female Genital Mutilation. A young girl’s value is how many goats and cows she will bring her father in a wedding dowry. Both FGM and childhood marriages are against the laws of Kenya, but still practiced in the deep bush of Africa. As the Hagen’s became more educated about the plight of the defenseless girl child their hearts were broken and decided to try and do something to help these young girls.
The Hagens worked in Kenya for Christ Community Church from 2008 through to the middle of 2014. The Olooloitikoshi Girls Rescue Center, founded in 2008 by the church and Christian Mission Aid (CMA) is located on a 10 acre plot of land about 50 miles south of Nairobi, Kenya. In October of 2014, Saruni International was created to provide more care and support for the young girls at the rescue center. Saruni International and CMA are partners in the rescue center project. To date, over 160 girls have been rescued, received an education, health care, counseling and safety in the loving atmosphere of the rescue center.
In 2019 Saruni International was invited by the residents of the Amboselli Basin, located at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro to come and start a ministry in that area. We sought an official relationship with local government offices and have been working alongside these officers on all projects. In the 4 years since that invitation Saruni has held seminars teaching the communities about the love of Jesus, the harmful effects of both FGM and early marriage and the law against these practices. A Biblically based “Alternative Right of Passage” into womanhood is offered. Today over 750 girls have been saved from these practices in the Amboselli Basin. Saruni has also become very involved in working with the local schools, in building classrooms, security fences and helping teachers. We have provided water to over 2,200 people who could not get water due to damage caused by elephants. Saruni installed 2.3 miles of new pipelines, repaired damaged water tanks and created safe taps for these people, their livestock and the elephants. Sport Camps and clinics are held to bring school children to learn about God, to educate and raise awareness of the dangers of FGM and childhood marriage.