Umoja, A Place Where Men Not Allowed

umoja

A woman is a power of house of entire mankind and they play pivotal roles in everywhere. In ancient days, there exists a matrilineal system where the woman was dominant in the society. As years passed, the paternal system is introduced into the society and from than most of the men are dominating the women. Still, we can see the places where the women are facing the severe problems and tortures. And today, the calendar strikes March 8, which is observed as ‘International Women Day’. We touringwala have come up with a place where the women were tortured and stabilised themselves. That’s all credit goes to the women empowerment of Umoja village of Kenya.

How This Village Came Into Existence

Sexual violence is the major reason to establish this women society, where the men were not allowed. The women who reside here are the survivors of sexual violence and from the male dominance. Most of them are rape victims, had child marriages and faced many problems from their husbands. Every life of the woman in this community tells about how men behaved cruelly with them and few of them were brutally raped by the British soldiers and Gurkhas. Later the victims were beaten by their husbands and they left over. They are not attacked by the wildlife surrounded by them but they are attacked by the wild nature men.
According to them, the following reasons made them establish a female community…

Forced Marriage

Umoja, Kenya

The people of Samburu practices polygamy which means the men can have many wives. Usually, the women are forced to marry at the age of 12 years old with a 30 years or 60 years old person. In return, they give goats and cows to the girl’s family. If she opposed to getting married, she will be beaten like anything by her family members. The men of Samburu treat women like a property and they sell them for goats and cows. After marriage, the woman has to leave for husband’s house and she needs to look after her house by earning money, cooking, finding food, water and taking care of children. There is a high risk to get HIV and other sexual diseases though husband, who have multiple partners.

Spousal Abuse/torture

Spousal abuse is very common in Samburu district. The men of this locale treat women as a property and treat them like slaves. Most of the Women of Samburu are not aware of their rights and they used to bare the spousal abuse. Female Genital Mutilation is one of the primary cause which leads to the death of the woman. The people of Samburu used to practice FGM, which results in severe health problems.

Who Started This….

 

Umoja
Rebecca Lolosoli is the founder and matriarch of this community and it was founded in the year 1990. Years ago, Rebecca was beaten brutally by her family members and villagers because she demanded justice for a woman who was raped by a British soldier. The incident made Rebecca to found a village without women. Initially, she faced many troubles and attacks from men. But, she founded Umoja with a group of 15 members. Now, it is a heaven for the woman who escaped from sexual violence and FGM.

How They Are Surviving

The women of Umoja village survives through by selling handmade jewellery and crafts to the tourists who visit Samburu National reserve. They are also charging a nominal fee from the tourists who love to visit their village. With that earned money they are sending their children to the schools and wearing good clothes. The women of Umoja are trained in traditionally beaded jeweller making which became their livelihood. Now by helping each other, the women of Umoja are earning their own money and now we can see the smiles on their faces. Is this a women empowerment or not?

How They Are Bringing Awareness

The women of Umoja village are now educating the other Samburu village women and girls on child marriages, Female Genital Mutilation and their rights. They all gather at one place and discuss their problems with each other and they try to find the solution. Now they are sending their children to the schools for their bright future. Even after establishing their own village Rebecca was attacked many times by local men.

Rebecca Loslosoli received many awards from reputed organisation for encouraging the women empowerment. The Women of Umoja are proving that if we fight against the bad definitely we will win our lives.

(representational images)

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