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Program: Liberal Arts
Hometown: Newton, Mass. by way of Tanzania
“Professor Deb London really brought me out of my shell to tell my story and my background to the MassBay community. I was able to teach others about my tribe and my Maasai culture. Her class was amazing and I learned so much about how culture are connected with the society and how they function together with communities.”
MassBay Fun Facts: International Club, Multi-Mentoring Program
Bio: Ten years ago, Isaya Oleporuo left his tribe in Tanzania and moved to America. Prior to MassBay, he had never attended a formal school. Since moving to the United States, he worked with a tutor to learn how to read English and studying to earn his GED. He registered for classes at MassBay in 2015 and this May he will graduate with an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts with a current 3.5 GPA.
Isaya has made it his life mission to help educate and empower all of the females in his native village in Maasailand, Tanzania, as well as share his native culture with his adopted Commonwealth Community. He is a Maasai Warrior and runs The Warriors Organization by speaking at schools and other organization about the culturally rich and vibrant Maasai culture. The Warrior Organization also helps empower Maasai women to make jewelry to earn a living and it also raises funds to help education girls (https://www.warriorsorganization.org/).
Isaya knew from a very young age that it was wrong for his older sister, who was 12 or 13 at the time, to have to marry a man many years her senior. He felt she should have a choice and he saved her from that fate. He has since helped dozens of other girls from his village to escape a similar fate and receive a formal education. Isaya has helped 40 Maasai girls go to school, with his organization he has found sponsors to pay for their education for 8 years each.
In addition to working relentlessly to help his culture endure as well as move forward by giving women and girls a voice, not to mention bridging cultures around the world, Isaya is an exemplary student and role model. His scholarly performance is on par with the very best. Isaya also speaks several languages and is currently learning Spanish. Isaya has already made a tremendous and positive impact in so many peoples’ lives in his native Tanzania, as well as his adopted country of the United States.
“I really want to make a difference, especially with gender equality,” said Isaya.
Isaya plans to study International Relations and someday open a center in Tanzania to teach tribe members of their human rights. He would also like to record history of the tribes in his country to be able to preserve the history of the indigenous people and tribal cultures.