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One Very Brave 12 Year Old Maasai Girl

It takes great courage to stand up to centuries of tradition, to your parents and tribal elders and say, “No this is wrong, I won’t do what our women have always done, I want a different life.” The strength to say that and then follow through on your words is almost unfathomable when it’s spoken...

It takes great courage to stand up to centuries of tradition, to your parents and tribal elders and say, “No this is wrong, I won’t do what our women have always done, I want a different life.” The strength to say that and then follow through on your words is almost unfathomable when it’s spoken by a 12 year old Maasai girl in a small village in Kenya. Kakenya Ntaiya, was that girl. Now she has her PhD and has returned to her village to build a school for girls so others can have the same chance at a different future. I went to the school to see for myself the difference Kakenya is making in the lives of other young Maasai women. This video is from that visit, but this week I also interview Kakenya for my radio show National Geographic Weekend and she updates me on the progress her school has made since my visit two years ago. When you realize the impact Kakenya is having on the lives of not only Maasai girls, but also the Maasai men and tribal elders it is no surprise that she has been chosen as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer.

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Meet the Author

Boyd Matson
Boyd Matson, in his work for National Geographic, has been bitten, scratched, or pooped on, and occasionally kissed by most of the creatures found at your local zoo. What he refers to as his job, others might describe as a career spent attending summer camp for adults. Currently Matson is the host of the weekly radio show, “National Geographic Weekend.” Conducting interviews from the studio and from the field, Matson connects with some of the greatest explorers and adventurers on the planet to transport listeners to the far corners of the world and to the hidden corners of their own backyards. Matson also writes about his experiencs in his monthly column, “Boyd Matson Unbound” for National Geographic Traveler magazine, produces videos for National Geographic.com, and serves as a spokesperson for the National Geographic Society.