Purity Wanjohi and Kevin Okech are the two faces behind Mazingira Safi Initiative (MSI), a community-based organization in Nairobi, Kenya, with a mission to inspire change in how Nairobi residents treat the environment.
The two have run the initiative alongside other members for almost two years and have shown dedication in mobilizing volunteer students and youths to achieve this mission.
In March, they rallied their team to do something different from the routine community cleanups and environmental education. March is Women’s History Month, a theme meant to recognize, appreciate and celebrate all that women and girls contribute to society — and to create more awareness of the need to support them.
In recognition of the month and its theme, Wanjohi and Okech organized a visit to Maryfaith Children’s Home, a rescue shelter for sexually and physically abused girls. Located in Riruta Satelite, Nairobi, the shelter houses more than 50 girls ranging from infancy to age 18.
Wanjohi and Okech raised roughly $200 to purchase foodstuffs, sanitary towels and toiletries, items the shelter determined were most needed. The girls were very happy, and they enjoyed hanging out with the MSI team.
Despite the fun, the visit was also sobering. Interacting with the girls and listening to their stories, one is made to realize that there is a dark force detaching humans from their sense of humanity. Most of these girls had gone through dehumanizing experiences in the hands of their guardians, denying them a chance to hope and dream.
The team from MSI was very deliberate to encourage them to keep hope alive. The innocence of children has to be protected and a sense of confidence built inside them.
The shelter’s founder, Margaret Mwangi, said in one session, “I need the government to protect our girls, the law to defend them, and the community to accept them.”
The visit was simply a reminder that we all cannot cease to counter ignorance, increase awareness to stop domestic violence, and support young girls and women to pursue their dreams. There are little things that we all can do.
This article was written by Kevin Okech of Kenya and was submitted as part of a citizen journalism initiative. It has been edited for clarity and length. The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government.