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Women and Challenges in Eldoret

15 November 2011 No Comment

Sheila Barno

Sheila Barno
Kenya

“Many children in my community do not go to school, especially girls. They are simply taught household chores and married off at an early age.  My own mother is one such victim.”

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Editor’s note: This is the second of two articles we are running this month by students at the AIC Morop Girls’ Secondary School in Nakuru, Kenya.

It is now 16 years since I was born. I am now in Form Three but I am yet to see any sign of women living an exemplary life. Women in my society and community still face challenges.

I live in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. In my community women have no authority to speak out their ideas or the problems they face. For instance, my neighbour who was married in the early nineties is not allowed any say in family affairs and has developed low self-esteem as she has no right over anything her family possesses.  Every time she raises a complaint you will hear her screaming in the evenings out of the torture she encounters, even for a small mistake that is not worthy of punishment.

Women in my community are not considered worthy, and anything of low value is always associated with them. Many children in my community do not go to school, especially girls. They are simply taught household chores and married off at an early age.  My own mother is one such victim. Although she underwent basic schooling, she is not allowed by my dad to go for further studies. My dad always gives excuse such as ‘the children will lack parental care,’ yet we are all in boarding schools and old enough to take care of ourselves during the holiday.  I wonder how long my mum will have to wait to go back to school.  Years are passing and she is growing old, yet she is denied the right to pursue her education. How I wish she had the power to make such decisions herself.

Early termination of education is a major problem young women undergo.  My best friend from primary school is a victim of this.  In 2005 she was forced to defer her education as a result of an unwanted pregnancy.  She was impregnated by a man who was old enough to be her grandfather after luring her with gifts.  Whenever she told me of this man, I warned her of the dangers that such gifts could entail, but alas! The ‘luxurious’ entertainment took the better part of her and she soon dropped out of school.  She was rejected by her father, who was very strict, and her mother would have been chased from the house if she had defended her daughter.

Whenever the girl went to see the old man he would chase her out of his house.  The situation worsened until she and her daughter were forced to go live with her aunt. Three years later she was pregnant again, yet she could not tell the one who impregnated her.  The aunt, who lives in West Pokot, chased her back home, where she was welcomed with violence.

Days passed by and she delivered, this time a baby boy. Her father was not happy about it. He mercilessly tortured her daughter until she was forced to go and stay with her grandmother. There she was forced to provide all the labour even though it was only a few weeks after delivery.

Sheila's school

When I visited her recently she told me how she came to be impregnated while staying at her aunt’s place in West Pokot.  She said that, whenever she went to sleep, men always streamed into the kitchen where she slept, but when she complained to her aunt she was not taken seriously.  The men on the other hand threatened to kill her if she reported them or screamed.  Things have not been the same for her as she has to struggle daily to feed her aging grandmother as well as her two children.  Life takes its nature and course in unexpected ways.

I can say that all these problems are caused by improper knowledge of the importance of a woman in the society; we must find ways to ensure that the rights of every woman should be heard loudly worldwide to avoid all these problems.

The views and opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Peace X Peace.

 

 

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