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A real winner ... Jane Surtees with orphanage kids
The Sun

By SHARON HENDRY

Published: 26 May 2009

SINGLE mum Jane Surtees certainly has a Lotto heart.

Like millions of others, the mum-of-five had dreamed of winning the Lottery and
buying cars, houses and designer clothes.

But she also had another wish — to help the plight of countless starving children in
Ethiopia she had seen on television over the years.

So when Jane scooped a £7.5million jackpot five months ago, she immediately
started planning her trip to the African country.

Speaking exclusively for the first time since her win, Jane, 48, says: “Winning the
Lotto has changed my life and now I want to help change the lives of others.
Woman challenges tradition, brings change to her Kenyan village
By Kathleen Toner, CNN
March 14, 2013

Enoosaen, Kenya (CNN) -- When she was 14 years old, Kakenya Ntaiya
entered the cow pen behind her home with an elderly woman carrying a rusty
knife.

As a crowd from her Maasai village looked on, Ntaiya sat down, lifted her skirt
and opened her legs. The woman grabbed Ntaiya's most intimate body parts
and, in just moments, cut them out.

"It (was) really painful. I fainted," recalled Ntaiya, now 34. "You're not supposed
to cry."

For generations, this ceremony was a rite of passage for every Maasai girl,
some as young as 10; soon afterward, they would marry and drop out of school.

About 140 million girls and women worldwide have been affected by female
genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision. The procedure is
commonly based on religious and cultural beliefs, including efforts to prevent
premarital sex and marital infidelity.

While female circumcision and child marriage are now illegal in Kenya -- new
laws banning genital mutilation have contributed to a decline in the practice --
officials acknowledge that they still go on, especially in rural tribal areas.
Despite free primary education being mandated 10 years ago by the Kenyan
government, educating girls is still not a priority for the Maasai culture.
According to the Kenyan government, only 11% of Maasai girls in Kenya finish
primary school.

"It means the end of their dreams of whatever they want to become in life,"
Ntaiya said.

But when Ntaiya endured the painful ritual in 1993, she had a plan. She
negotiated a deal with her father, threatening to run away unless he promised
she could finish high school after the ceremony.
More than 150 Maasai girls are enrolled at the Kakenya Center for Excellence
in Enoosaen, Kenya.
More than 150 Maasai girls are enrolled at the Kakenya Center for Excellence
in Enoosaen, Kenya.

"I really liked going to school," she said. "I knew that once I went through the
cutting, I was going to be married off. And my dream of becoming a teacher was
going to end."

Dreams like Ntaiya's weren't the norm in Enoosaen, a small village in western
Kenya. Engaged at age 5, Ntaiya spent her childhood learning the skills she
would need to be a good Maasai wife. But her mother encouraged her children
to strive for a better life, and Ntaiya heeded her advice, postponing the
coming-of-age ritual as long as she could. When her father finally insisted, she
took her stand.

Ntaiya's bold move paid off. She excelled in high school and earned a college
scholarship in the United States. Her community held a fundraiser to raise
money for her airfare, and in exchange, she promised to return and help the
village.

Over the next decade, Ntaiya would earn her degree, a job at the United
Nations and eventually a doctorate in education. But she never forgot the vow
she made to village elders.

In 2009, she opened the first primary school for girls in her village, the Kakenya
Center for Excellence. Today, Ntaiya is helping more than 150 girls receive the
education and opportunities that she had to sacrifice so much to attain.

The Kakenya Center for Excellence started as a traditional day school, but now
the students, who range from fourth to eighth grade, live at the school. This
spares the girls from having to walk miles back and forth, which puts them at
risk of being sexually assaulted, a common problem in rural African
communities. It also ensures the girls don't spend all their free time doing
household chores.

"Now, they can focus on their studies -- and on being kids," Ntaiya said. "It's the
only way you can give a girl child a chance to excel."

Do you know a hero? Nominations are open for 2013 CNN Heroes

Students receive three meals a day as well as uniforms, books and tutoring.
There are also extracurricular activities such as student council, debate and
soccer. Class sizes are small -- many schools in Kenya are extremely
overcrowded -- and the girls have more chances to participate. With these
opportunities and the individual attention they receive, the girls are inspired to
start dreaming big.

"They want to become doctors, pilots, lawyers," Ntaiya said. "It's exciting to see
that."