Teriano’s Story

The Early Years – Loodariak Kenya

Teriano is Maasai, born in Loodariak, the first born of her father’s first wife. Today there are 17 children from three wives. The day Teriano was born she was ‘booked’, or promised in marriage, to the 27-year old son of the midwife who delivered her. It was Maasai custom for fathers to book the marriage of their young daughters with older men. In return, the fathers received cows as dowry from the new husbands.

Maasai girls did not go to school because they were expected to help their mothers and marry after reaching the age of thirteen. Teriano’s mother insisted her father break tradition and allow Teriano to attend the local school. Initially her father did not want her in school but eventually he agreed.

World Vision Kenya Connection 1990’s

Teriano was offered the life changing opportunity by World Vision Kenya to attend primary school. World Vision provided Teriano with a uniform, medical care and books, and supported school and community projects in Loodariak. At the insistence of her mother and the eventual agreement of her father, and with financial assistance from Word Vision, Teriano attended a secondary boarding school followed by a college social development program in Nairobi.

Her father sold some of his valuable cows to support this educational journey. Teriano was the first person in her village to go to college. She returned to Loodariak to work for World Vision in village community projects, the first woman in her village to earn a salary. With this money she built her mother a concrete house, bought her father cows and improved the economic status of her family. She had demonstrated the importance of education for girls.

Ryerson University Canada Connection 2008-present

Teriano entered the Social Work degree programme at Ryerson University in Toronto Canada in 2008, only to be abandoned by her educational sponsor. Her Sociology Professor Jean Golden, with the support of Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy and many Ryerson faculty, staff and students, found educational support for Teriano. Her professor also contacted World Vision Canada to provide part-time employment for Teriano’s living expenses. In 2009, Teriano’s parents gifted a cow to Professor Golden for protecting their daughter and acting as her second mother in Canada.

Teriano graduated in June 2012, with her Maasai parents in the Ryerson University Convocation audience. It made the news in the Toronto Star and was featured in World Vision Canada’s online magazine. 
Teriano was the first person and the first female in Loodariak, to achieve a University degree.

Ryerson Chancellor Chang, the Lesanchas, Professor Golden, President Levy, Magdalene Mepukori

The Lesanchas with Ryerson President Levy and World Vision President Toycen

New Graduate Teriano Lesancha

The Lesanchas

Convocation in Loodariak

At the invitation of the Loodariak villagers, President Levy and Professor Golden conducted a special University Convocation for Teriano in her home village of Loodariak Kenya in August 2012. Over 1,800 Loodariak Maasai attended the celebration.

The ceremony attracted national Kenya media attention and distinguished individuals, such as Kenya’s Minister of Higher Education, the Canadian High Commissioner, and Maasai University Professors and students from Nairobi.

Loodariak Village     Teriano’s Story     Explore More     Education       Economic Development


Website: J Golden

Research Asst: H Sadkowski

& P Haastrup

Site Design: W Cudlip

Photos: J Golden, Ryerson University

& N Cole 


Professor Jean Golden Ryerson University

Email: JGolden@arts.ryerson.ca

Site Designer: Walt Cudlip

Email: waltcudlip@gmail.com


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