Sister Mary Vertucci
Sr. Mary knew she wanted to be a Maryknoll nun for most of her life. When she fulfilled this dream, much of her first 26 years was spent teaching, often with the Maasai youth of Tanzania. She was asked to work on a research project that looked into the current situation of Maasai education. Sr. Mary was struck by the seriousness of the endangered future of these people, especially the dismal state of education for Maasai girls. Deeply moved, Mary single-handedly embarked on a journey to systematically overcome each challenge that was keeping these girls from realizing their potential in the world. She started Emusoi, a place where young Maasai women could come, discover their own worth, and pursue education for themselves. Mary gave them a safe place to build their skills so that they could participate in the public schools and vocational programs, not only for themselves but for the whole Maasai community. Beginning with 6 girls, Emusoi is now supporting over 250 Maasai girls, as well as girls from hunter/gatherer communities.