Kenya: My panty, my health, my dignity
My name is Maureen Bii from the Ogiek community living in the Mau Forest,Nessuit village.
I have been inspired by the young girls and boys who amid difficult situations they face, they still hope for a better future.
One most challenge they face is sexual abuse from young and old men they look up to for support and care.In many instances,its their own fathers manipulating them under the influence of alcohol.What happens to these young children after the beastly acts?
Many children have contracted Hiv,lost their dignity,lost hope,others died and others live with the stigma.
Where is their source of help when the society is rotting like this?Most of these cases are solved under the carpets or under the tables.No one is persecuted and perpetrators walk head up high as if nothing happened.
I have a good experience with my neighbor who was abused by her own father and no one came to her rescue.She lived with the stigma and with the same father who ruined her life.As a result she quit school for she saw no reason of living the life that she had been subjected to by her own father.This experience made her the laughing stock of the community.To add insult her mother was evicted when she tried to report the matter to the authorities.
The incident added a permanent scar to the little girl as she contracted HIV and her future which she hoped would be bright was shuttered.
It is for this reason that I and my partner James Macharia initiated the project" My panty,my health,my dignity".
The reason behind it was based on the fact that children do not know the importance of hiding ones private body and keeping safe from predators unless someone teaches them.
The male figures in our society are turned on just by seeing nude bodies of females.Therefore it was important to solve this issue of lack of panties in order to safeguard the interest of the young innocent girls.
This initiative empowers the young boys and girls with underpants to cover their bodies,keep them safe and healthy as well as improve their dignity.
Women have joined hands with us to fight the scourge as we want a society free from this menace.We are hoping to reduce the levels of early teenage pregnancies,spread of HIV,bring sanity among men in order to raise a dignified children who will lead the world tomorrow and bring positive change that will be felt across the world.
We not only empower with panties but also with food,sanitary kits to teenage girls,life skills on good behavior,improve their talents through open youth forums and organized team building activities.
We aspire to free the children from poverty and ensure they are safe.
We are calling on all support partners to come together and help us fulfill their dreams and help them live in a dignified community.
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