Furaha, not her real name, a Class Three pupil at a school in Kisumu’s Nyalenda. Just like any other pupil in her class, she would occasionally drift to wonderland, fantasising how her future, long after school, would be. But all that now is a distant dream.
Furaha was defiled by a regular customer to her mother’s brew den in Nyalenda B Estate. The 13-year-old, is now part of the statistics of teenage pregnancies which has dogged the country, even as safety of women remains a major issue.
She is among 17 girls and four boys, aged between two and 17, who are currently seeking refuge at a local rescue home, pondering their next move in a bid to reconstruct their lives.
Gender activists in Kisumu have raised the red flag over gender-based violence and teenage pregnancies as Kenya joins the world in marking the International Women’s Day today.
Some of the teenage mothers recovering at the rescue centre in Kisumu appealed to well-wishers to help them change their lives.
Elizabeth Mokkonen, their caregiver, wears different hats — mother, teacher, counselor and provider — who has turned her house into a rescue centre, and working through her Community Forum for Advanced Development (Cofas), is trying to restore the lives of the girls.
Cofas participated inWomen’s Day celebration which was set for Chiga Dispensary in Kisumu East.
The day is celebrated on March 8 annually and this year’s theme is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change.” It puts innovation by women and girls, for women and girls, at the heart of efforts to achieve gender equality.
Back at the centre, Furaha was preparing to attend an adult education class after she failed to secure a place at the local primary schools due to her age.