I have a message that I would like to direct to parents, community, governments, everyone: to invest in girls. We are victims of so many things – violence, poverty. They can be part of the solution to the problems, the change we are looking for.I want to study peace studies and human rights because of my experience: the fact that women and girls are victims of violence and their rights are suppressed. I want to be in a position to change things for them.
At the age 9 I was a victim of early forced marriage. My parents were poor and illiterate and their only thought was to give me away in marriage. My sister was supposed to get married before me but she refused. She was about 11. Dowry had already been paid for her and once dowry has been paid, it cannot be returned. So my father decided I should get married in her place. In Masaai culture, sometimes you are booked at birth and they take you when they see you are mature and ready to give birth. I couldn’t refuse because women in my community do not have a say and I was just a girl and even my mother could not talk about it.
My sister and I decided to run away from home. Our neighbour was a student at AIC Kajiado school and told us about the rescue programme so we already knew about the school. It was a huge risk but when you see other kids going to school and you see that they are better than you, looking bright, in uniform, and you are just at home looking after cows, you want to do the same. That’s what motivated us to run away from home.
We were accepted at the school even without school fees. My sister was older and had gone to nursery school a long time before so she went to Class 2. I hadn’t been to nursery school so I had to start at Class 1. I had so much pride and I really wanted to study. I really wanted to know everything, every small detail so I was bright and people kept asking “Have you gone to school before?”. That’s what gave me the urge to learn.
I have gone through a lot but I think when you go and see the light, you go back and spread the light. Many people don’t like to go back to where they started but learned people have to go back and be part of the change.