"I joined safe spaces when i had lost hope in life and lost in street life.My Mother died when i was 7 years from injuries inflicted by my father during home fights.At the time of death after one of the fights,he tied us on the bed with a rope and left.I was rescued by my grandmother 4 days later so weak out of hunger and my moms corpse almost starting to decompose in the house.My grandmother took me to our rural home and she passed on 2 years later. I was left alone and fear of dying of hunger i went into the streets and joined other girls who were doing prostitution.Life was so unbearable having to serve 3 clients in a night at the age of 12 years.My body was aching all over the next day.I was saved by one of the clients,as i explained to him about my situation. He took me to Safe Spaces programme.Safe Spaces enrolled me into a primary school and found me safe home where i live up to today.I will be completing my High school next year through scholarship support in safe spaces and i want to be a Doctor in future to help many children in our community who cannot afford medication when they are sick.I have gone through alot of Reproductive health training and awareness in the programme and i feel that am a leader now and my first task is to go and talk to the other girls i left in the streets besides teaching the young girls in the programme every weekend".
Safe Spaces provides a unique space for holistic growth for girls living in the slums.We reach 200 girls every week through our lifeskills and reproductive health programmes and sports programmes.we support 60 girls with part High school fees and 10 girls will be completing Automechanics course by the end of 2015.Every Holiday we hold workshops in photography and filming,computer literacy and basketball camps for more than 300 girls to help them continue growing positively and with skills and also to keep them busy from idling in the community and being pressured to act otherwisely by their peers.We also help them do their homeworks in the office as there is no enough space in their homes.All this is made posiible by your generous support and we thankyou so much.
This is what one of the girls Leaders said in a community forum
"In terms of world leaders,i would like them to know that young people are not just simply leaders of tomorrow,we are already leaders and members of our todays society,our views matter,we need avenues to express them and a guarrantee that we have freedom of expression.when we are treated as full partners in development issues,real change will result"
"I want to be a rescue pilot in future so that i can rescue people from my community during fire outbreaks.I lost my mum in one of the fire outbreaks.Living without my mum has been hell,am so mistreated by my relatives.The fire fighters take so long to come and put the fire off,lots of property get and people get burnt mostly children who are left alone by their parents when the go to fend for food as the houses are not properly built with strong materials.we live in a maze of rusted ironsheets with mud walls and open gutters of sewage pass near our door.Piles of rubbish are everywhere.I wish to live in a better place.When i joined Safe Spaces 4 years ago through a friend,i was planning to commit suicide. Its always an option in the slums apart from becoming a drug addict or a prostitute.Safe spaces gave me hope to live by helping me with school fees,i also got a space where i learn about myself,play games and meet other girls who face more challenges in life like me.We share and encourage each other and i have stopped feeling lonely and hope to reach my dream.I am in form 3."
Many girls come to safe Spaces so depressed and almost losing hope with life.In these condtitions,they hope that something new could take place and change their lives.Sometimes they dont realize that the change they so yearn for is within them.Through our Lifeskills,sports and arts programmes we provide that space where they can build power within themselves to work and tackle their problems.We help them become witnesses and advocates of their own conditions,we build a family with its own rules and they reveal their crude realities through poems,stories and songs.They start re-imagining their lives.This is possible because we dont walk alone,we walk together with you and you push us closer to our dream lives.
“I was born in Kariobangi Nairobi but my mother died at my birth so was brought up by my aunt who is a casual laborer at Eastleigh in Nairobi. Life has been very difficult all throughout. We rarely eat consistently as my aunt has 4 children and i have One child. I got married at 17years because I felt that I was a big burden to my aunt but was abandoned by my husband 2 years later as he became jobless and could not take care of us, and life has been so unfair to me. I joined safe Spaces in 2012 when I was 19 years. I was so depressed and hopeless almost contemplating suicide and went through life skills lessons that have strengthened my soul, I’m more than ever wanting to live again afresh and get skills to help me in future and when safe spaces gave me an opportunity to learn Auto mechanics, I felt like I was rising from the dead. I’m so happy and will work hard to make the best out of my past troubled life. I’m more than willing to live for my kid and provide for her wellbeing. Every Thursday when we have yoga in Safe Spaces and holding our Self-evaluation, I feel like I’m so blessed to have known safe spaces. “If only I had met them earlier, my life would not be the same, but better late than never, I’m more than determined to make in life.Beth –Student Auto mechanics-Safe Spaces.
“I felt strong grips on my legs, No sooner than I realized what was going on, a sharp pain consumed my belly. I couldn’t scream my mouth was covered by my father’s own hands .I didn’t want to believe seeing the sharpness of his eyes sinking into mine”
I reached to my grandmother the next day but she told me when I talk about it will be a shame to our family. What followed was rape after rape nights. My sister who is 12 years old was not spared either. My brothers 9 and 11 years had to come to terms with sodomy too. Our mother had passed on few years back.
“We felt our lives hanged somewhere between the captivity and freedom. We were in dilemma. On one hand we needed him in our lives for protection and provision of food and clothing and escape from the cultural tag of being bastards but on the other hand the only person who could provide that package turned our sleeping rooms into torture chambers. I disclosed the nightmare to safe spaces when I discovered that I was pregnant. I regret it had to take this long, I just didn’t know who to share with.”
Many girls go through these ordeals every day in our community. Many girls need spaces where they can get help and support and skills to counter such incidents In their lives. Education is Key but should be combined with flavor in sports, music, Dance, artistic expressions to make it wholistic.1200 girls have benefited from Safe spaces programs since its inception in 2008.Building on diverse life skills and creating a platform for self-knowledge and expression has helped the girls to pick the paintbrushes and paint their world of tomorrow.
This has happened because of your love and support. Let keep walking together to make a difference in girls lives like Lillian.
"My name is Janet, Im 14 years Old.I live in Mathare slums. I fell into a group of girls who introduced me to sex work with older men in order to get food and nice clothes as my family is so poor. I was not able to attend school. We help each other make contacts and find clients. Most nights i spent with clients. There are gangs in our area who often Gang rape us and harass us. We get into fights with other girls over clients and other clients beat us after the service and dont pay us. When i go to the police, they become as violent as the gangs and sometimes beat us and I kind of feel it is better to keep quiet as a girl no one takes care of you or respects you in the society".
I joined safe spaces 3 months ago and after councelling, I decided to stop this sex work. I'm glad to be learning Auto mechanics and i hope for a better life in future.Im rebulding my self esteem and trying to cope with others as i didnt go to school and i dont feel as smart as those around me. I feel that i have wasted my body and I feel older than my age mates.
"I know this will be over some day as im now in a positive environment.I play basketball and i feel so happy and good.it keeps me away from sad memories of my past.I could not have found this space if it were not for your support.
I thank safe spaces for rescuing me from that dark life"
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