Emusoi Center in Arusha, Tanzania is a center for young Pastoralist/Hunter-Gatherer women. It is run by Sr. Mary Vertucci, A Maryknoll Sister with a dedicated staff of Tanzanians.
At present, the center provides a home for 15 girls who are in the pre-secondary program at the center and a few other girls waiting to join courses. The center also supports more than 300 other girls who are in secondary schools.
The center provides board and lodging for the young women, library facilities, tutoring and personal and career counseling for them.
Emusoi is a Maasai word, which means “discovery/awareness/realization. The center aims to help these young women realize the value of education for themselves and for their communities. It aims to help them discover their own worth as persons, to become aware of their gifts and potentials and to discover how to develop these gifts for their own good and for the good of their families and for the good of their whole communities. The center helps these young women make the transition from a very traditional life-style to a life in a more “modern” world.
Emusoi is very needed. The Pastoralist/Hunter-Gatherer communities have very few professionals. There are a few men coming from these communities who are college graduates, but fewer women. It needs doctors, lawyers, teachers etc. When Emusoi began, there were only 2-3 women graduates. Now with the efforts of Emusoi and a few other groups, Pastoralist/Hunter-Gatherer women graduates number in the hundreds.
Emusoi is helping more than 350 young women at present. Most of these students are being totally supported by the Center, paying school fees, providing room and board and taking care of their personal needs, Parents contribute what they can usually in kind: corn, beans and charcoal. It costs approximately $1500 a year to support one student.
The majority of the girls are Maasai, but there are also a few Barbaig, Wataturu, Hadzabe, Tatoga and Akie girls receiving scholarships.
Emusoi is had been located in rented premises. In 2004, a larger permanent Center has been built. It can house over 80 students. The Center building includes four dormitories, offices, two classrooms, a library, kitchen and dining hall, a house for the co-director/matron, guestrooms and a garage.
Emusoi has produced a number of professional women ranging from teachers, nurses, laboratory technicians, tour guides, tailors, cooks, pharmacists, social workers, bookkeepers, accountants, community developers, lawyers and medical doctors. These women have become role models to the current roster of students that the center has. Aside from earning their own salaries and making decisions for themselves, they are also helping their families. In family or community gatherings, their voices are now heard and the opinions are valued. Their success are changing the way people think about educating girls.