04 Feb FGM and Child Marriage: A Tough Reality for Girls in Kenya.
Oasis of Hope Children’s Home, a partner home of Serving Orphans Worldwide recently welcomed 29 girls from Samburu County in Kenya. Among the 29 girls is Naomi, who is 16 years old. She arrived to the campus with her five year old daughter, Nasarian in her arms. Her story, though not uncommon, sheds light on a tough reality that many young girls in Kenya will continue to face if something does not change.
The Samburus are an indigenous community, who have worked hard to protect and preserve their culture and traditions for many years. Among the various traditions practiced by the Samburu people and other communities in Kenya, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child, early forced marriage continues to be two of the most dangerous and highly prevalent practices impacting women and girls in this region. There have been many advocacy groups that have risen up in Kenya, strongly voicing their concern that this practice is an infringement on the human rights and dignity of women and young girls in Africa. Due to its dangerous nature, the practice was officially outlawed in Kenya in 2011. Despite this, more FGM procedures are being conducted in secret, increasing the risk of complications.
The Samburu Girl’s Foundation cites that in Samburu County, once a young girl has undergone FGM, she is expected to be married the following day. Many of the young girls who were rescued are trying to find hope and healing from the trauma of FGM, forced child marriage or both.
Naomi was just nine years old when she was forced to marry a man seven times her age. When she was 11, she became pregnant and gave birth to Nassarian. With no access to post-natal care, opportunities for employment and having never received an education, Naomi felt there was no hope for her and her daughter’s future.
Thankfully, Naomi and Nasarian were rescued by the Samburu Girl’s Foundation in Kenya and were transferred to Oasis of Hope Children’s Home for ongoing care.
Naomi’s resilience is absolutely remarkable. Since Naomi has never attended school, she is starting classes at the second-grade level. Although many might see this as a setback, Naomi is embracing this opportunity to obtain an education and make significant strides towards becoming self sufficient in order to take care of her daughter. Naomi strives to do her very best, even when it gets hard. She will continue to live at Oasis of Hope with Nasarian until she is equipped with the skills required to make a successful transition into adulthood.
Nasarian is a bright and bubbly young girl with a big personality. Her love for her mother is evident, and her smile is contagious, bringing joy to every person she encounters. At only five years old, she has already figured out exactly what she wants to do when she grows up. Nasarian has big dreams of becoming a pilot one day and flying her very own plane from Kenya to India.
Nasarian recently started Kindergarten and loves to learn. She has made a new friend, Manu who also shares a similar story. Nasarian’s favorite subject is English. She is constantly pushing herself to try new things and is always asking questions. Naomi and Nasarian both have bright futures ahead. As each day passes, it becomes a little easier for them to dream with hope and cultivate joy, despite difficult circumstances.
Currently, Oasis of Hope and Wings of Compassion, another ministry partner of SOW, are working together to support 23 child mothers and their babies. We would like to give thanks to our amazing SOW family who have stood by our side to pray and support these projects that work to protect the most vulnerable children and literally change the trajectory of their lives.
If you would like to sponsor a child like Naomi or Nasarian, know that 100% of every penny will go directly to improving the quality of care for that child and not to any of SOW’s administrative costs.