Thogoto Teachers Training College Graduation

February 10, 2020

In Kenya, the Pokot community located in the northern part of the country is one of those that practice Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). In this community, the cut is performed on girls between 10 to 17 years of age.

If a girl was to become pregnant before 10 years of age, she would also have to be subjected to the cut. According to the community, FGM is believed to be an important rite of passage that marks the transition from childhood to adulthood.

The cut is not a worthwhile rite of passage; the issue should instead focus on sharpening the minds of the girls instead of cutting their bodies physically. Equipping parents with the right information enables them to make the right decisions for their children, such as choosing the alternative rite of passage over the traditional one.

Safehouses have become the only refuge for these girls; they have become a safe haven for them, otherwise, they would be cut and married off at a tender age.

When Valvisions Foundation took over a couple of girls from the Pokot community and offered them a scholarship for their secondary education, though it should have been a time of great celebration, we faced tremendous challenges. The community would rather have received the monetary fund, put it into ‘better use’ and married off the girls. According to them, educating a girl child was a waste of time, and so they tried all ways to frustrate the process. We, however, didn’t give up, and we put the girls in a boarding school and in a safe house over the school holidays. They did not go home much because they were afraid of being cut then married off. The girls were happy to be in a boarding school and in a safe home over the holidays where all their needs were met. They had plenty of food to eat, a clean and serene environment, a matron to watch over them and teachers who came to the house to tutor them over the weekend. The girls finished their secondary education and went back home; they were well equipped to say no to FGM.

These same girls later joined college and with the support of Valvisions Foundation, finished their college education and passed very well. They went back to their community and volunteered in the local primary schools. Equipped as teachers they were empowered and had the knowledge to manage the primary school children. They have been teaching at the schools, earning money for their upkeep and supporting their families in return. We are proud of our girls; they have done well for themselves and are now giving back to their community.

Saving these girls from FGM and early marriages has caused them to become beacons of hope for the other girls. They are admired and looked upon with respect in the community. They have become a voice against FGM.

The 7th of February was a proud day for us as an organization, as we sat and watched three of our girls graduate from Thogoto Teachers Training college; it was a moment that brought tears to our eyes, we have done it, we have overcome.

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