In rural Kenya, Indigenous communities often do not have the resources to send their daughters to school. Instead, many girls are compelled into early marriages (sometimes as young as nine years old) and forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM).The Nanyori Shelter Network is one of the few chances girls have to pursue secondary education in rural Kenya. With MADRE support, the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) provides girls with safety, shelter and education. Girls receive crucial support and schooling from a network of women committed to their empowerment. Lucy Mulenkei, founder of the IIN, knows that education is critical to breaking the oppressive cycle of poverty amongst rural women and girls in Kenya. Currently, she is working on a project that will provide scholarships for girls with the desire—but not the resources—to attend school. She believes that graduating girls will return to their communities with the resources, knowledge and conviction to inspire others to follow similar paths. “In the future, they can come and help others because some of us also grew up in such situations where we were educated by somebody. We grew up knowing that we were helped, so we have to help others. I do believe that the little you do can make a difference, no matter how small it is. It can always make a difference and change the people’s lives.”
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