Maasai Children

Maasai Children




There are approximately 841,622 Maasai in Kenya and a further 430,000 in northern areas of Tanzania with the word 'Maasai' deriving from the word Maa; so Maa-sai means 'my people'. They live a nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle and are perhaps best known for their distinctive customs and dress. The Maasai lifestyle centres on the herding of cattle and they have an ancient tradition that God bequeathed to them all the cattle on earth; a tradition quoted when caught rustling cattle from other non-Maasai herdsmen! Given this lifestyle, Maasai boys are expected to be herders from a young age, starting with looking after the family's lambs and young calves from around the age of five whilst girls learn domestic skills. The living is harsh with a life expectancy of just 45 years.

At the age of seven, Maasai boys traditionally have the top of their right earlobe pierced signalling the taking on of more responsibilities such as looking after older calves and herding cattle with the rest of the family. The next stage for Maasai children is at the age of sixteen or seventeen when the lower lobes of both ears are pierced in a ceremony that augurs a new period when they take on sole responsibility for cattle and moving herds. Shortly after Maasai boys are circumcised; a rite of passage that then allows him to decorate himself with olive branches and carry a quiver. Around this time Maasai girls are dressed in black robes and a leather decoration is put in her pierced ear lobe.

Maasai Location

Living a nomadic lifestyle presents challenges for the education of Maasai children although an increasing number of them are eager to attend education. This is made all the more difficult because schools are so far away from their communities and, whilst some Massai children do undertake secondary eduaction, few have the opportunity to attend college. While at school, they learn English and Swahili, however their native language, Maa, is still spoken at home. Obviously when they are at school they cannot perform their expected, traditional duties so such attendance is rarely encouraged and the situation is even worse for girls as there is a clear expectation that, on growing up, they will marry and live with their husband's kin without need for any skills outside domestic duties and child-rearing. (Culturally, Maasai girls normally are offered by fathers to marry older men to marry, often when they are between the ages of twelve and fourteen.) Today, however, programs to bring education, water and health facilities to the Maasai people and this is attempted whilst preserving traditional Maasai culture for as one Maasai warrior put it, "A Maasai without culture is as a zebra without stripes. If we abandon our way of life, our next step could be extinction."

Maasai Children: Osiligi Charity Projects

Maasai Child Sponsor: Osiligi Charity Projects

A child sponsor project working with Maasai children where young people are selected on a needs basis with orphans or children from a single mother being automatically considered and next, children from parents where neither have a job. These children would not go to school without you offering to sponsor a Maasai child.

Visit >

Maasai Children: Amboseli Children's Fund

Maasai Child Sponsor: Amboseli Children's Fund

Amboseli Children's Fund is committed to transforming the lives of Maasai children living in extreme need in the remote area of Amboseli, Kenya. The Massai child you sponsor will receive a balanced diet, clean drinking water, toiletries, uniforms, books and tuition. These children are eager to learn and can make a huge impact on future generations.

Visit >

Maasai Children: Child Sponsor Kenya

Child Sponsor Kenya

Details of how to sponsor children in Kenya with Kenyan child sponsor organisations, charities, programs and projects.

More >

Maasai Children: Child Sponsor Tanzania

Child Sponsor Tanzania

Details of how to sponsor children in Tanzania with Tanzanian child sponsor organisations, charities, programs and projects.

More >

Maasai Children: Volunteer in Kenya

Volunteer in Kenya

You can find out more about Maasai children and their live swhen you volunteer in kenya.

More >

Maasai Children: Volunteer in Tanzania

Volunteer Work Tanzania

As well as sponsoring a child why not explore volunteering opportunities in Tanzania?

More >


Main sections of this site:

Volunteer by Country

Details of current volunteer work
opportunities in each of the
countries of Africa.

More >

Sponsor a Child
Sponsor a Child in Africa

Find how to sponsor a child in Africa
with our list of organisations,
charities, programs and projects.

More >

All About Africa

Discover all about Africa, its tourist
attractions, history, people, culture
and daily life there.

More >

African Resources

A treasure trove of African
resources from webcams to
free downloads and news.

More >