Founder and Director of Smart Child Kenya
My passion for helping other girls started when I was a small girl myself. Being the first born into a poor family was not easy. I started menstruating at the age of 11 and knew nothing about periods. When I started menstruating, I was confined to using only dirty rags. I was afraid of sharing this with my mother as I thought it was a type of lethal disease and it would worry her. I often had to take off certain school days when I menstruated. When my mother asked me about it, I told her openly, and that was that. My father, on the other hand, seeing me being out of school for several days every month, was happy that I could now be a wife. He talked with my mother about the reasons I was absent from school. My father was pleased that he did not have to pay for school fees anymore, and I could now be a wife. He began immediately looking for a man to marry me in exchange for domestic animals. On a day that I will never forget, at the crack of dawn, my father came home with man aged 46 and introduced him to me as my husband! I was only 12 years old at the time. With no time, I was out the door with this man on the way to his home. Upon arriving there I was welcomed by an old lady ready to circumcise me, but fortunately she was unable to because I had a fungal infection from using dirty rags for menstruation. The procedure was postponed for one week. In one week, I would soon be his wife to this old man. I cried all the time. There was with no one to turn to for help and share my problems with. One day before the FGM was due to be performed, I ran away to a nearby town. There, I met a lady who employed me as a house girl since I could not return home now that I was told I had brought disgrace to the family. I cooked three times a day and washed for seven members of this family. On a few occasions, the female parent used a cane on me since I did not wash the family clothes thoroughly enough. It was a time of agony and suffering in my life, and I worked there until I was 17. Being a dropout of school, I then got married, and this time I was able to make my own decisions for my life! From that point onward, I vowed to help other girls and ease their struggles. One day, as I was going to sell milk very early in the morning, I saw a school girl drop her used rag. I approached her and she told me her story. This was the moment that sparked my passion to start Smart Child Kenya, with the initial goal to help this one girl. Now, I help thousands of girls!