Doing Something Right? These women formed a safe haven for victims–very powerful.
In the village of Umoja in Kenya, men are noted welcome. In facts, they are banned. In Swahili, one of Kenya’s official languages, Umoja means unity. It is a safe and inspirational refuge for 50 women and 200 children.
Umoja was founded in 1990 by female survivors of rape and sexual violence. It has also become a haven for women fleeing sexual & domestic violence and welcomes people fleeing female genital mutilation, child marriage and more. They said, “I wouldn’t wish any Maasai girl to go through what I went through.”
The local Samburu culture is patriarchal where historically women were seen as property. Beading is culturally significant and the women are able to support themselves by selling crafts.
Protected by a wall of thorns, the village is self-sufficient and the women run their own lives. Despite resistance from local male-run tribal groups, the beautiful village continues to grow.
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Life is frugal, but the women own the land the village is on and proudly call Umoja their home. A beacon of light for women Umoja has inspired other women-only village in Kenya.
Building, community, though, peace, love, and understanding rather than fear and violence.