Through education and entrepreneurship, the foundation empowers Maasai women and youth to have the freedom and ability to choose their future and destiny. The foundation hosts various fundraising events and initiatives to support development projects among the Maasai and increase awareness of the challenges that they face. In addition, it also facilitates international learning experiences through internships and volunteer trips to Kenya.
SupaMaasai was founded by Teriano Lesancha, a Ryerson University graduate and the first from her village of Loodariak (population 10,000+) to attend post-secondary education.
Teriano began her education at Ryerson University in 2008. Her interest in the anti-oppression framework enabled her to have a better understanding of the challenges associated with growing up and living in the Maasai culture as a woman. Determined to change her own experience of a near early marriage for other young girls, Teriano became an advocate for the girl child in her community.
She stubbornly opted to pursue an education and turned down the marriage offer presented to her, a decision that was later appreciated by her parents. Her mother offered her utmost support, but it took some convincing to get her father on board. Teriano attended a boarding school during her high school education and had the opportunity to meet with other young women who inspired her to attain higher learning.
After successfully completing High School, World Vision financed her college education. Her dowry would have consisted of 5 cows, a figure that was doubled by Teriano’s first salary as a community development coordinator with World Vision Kenya. A role model and pioneer of change, Teriano was determined to inspire and give hope to her fellow youth to follow in her footsteps. Her dream of establishing a foundation that will work to improve her community is being realized.
Plans are underway to establish a scholarship foundation that will allow education to become a reality and possibility for many in Loodariak. With the help and support of her family, her village and Ryerson University, Teriano is proof that it really does take “a village to raise a child”. Teriano understands that she has achieved this historic goal against many odds – social and financial – and has set for herself the task of working to ensure that the road she has carved out can be followed by many others.
She is not quite done. She intends to dabble in the political world, by becoming a member of Kenyan Parliament, build a hospital that is such a necessity in her community, and create the first University of Loodariak.