Aug 16, 2018

One Girl at a Time

Teams lining up ready for football
Teams lining up ready for football

One out of every four girls in Kenya is married off before the age of 18, a new report has revealed. North Eastern and Upper Eastern have the highest prevalence of marrying off underage girls at 56% and Nairobi has the lowest at 7%.

Many girls in the villages are seen as capital and parents are ashamed of the girls getting pregnant before marriage. Many parents enter into a future contract in advance where the parents of the boy will buy the girl at a predetermined price at a specified time in future. In order to facilitate the exchange the parents of the girl have to ensure they deliver quality girl or one that is untouched. In most instances now the exchange is inform of livestock or money and to justify this economic transaction communities have combined culture coated with religion so that no one can question.

Despite the fact that Kenyan parliament adopted Marriage Act in 2014 which gives the age of marriage as 18. The legislation has done little to curb the criminal act even though the legislation purportedly applies to both customary and religious marriages. If the law was to be followed to the latter then many of the parents we are currently working with will be in jail. We choose to break the silence through football. In the beginning the girls playing football was unacceptable; lifting your legs up was considered a taboo.

In the past 4 years HODI's numbers are impressive, it's seeing HODI's work at play in the lives of individual girls that really illustrates how the innovative approach is transforming lives. The initial team had 12 girls who played in HODI league. This was short lived after the 1st regional tournament 8 of the girls was kidnapped for marriage the year was 2008. A decade later the situation has changed for the better but this took a lot of commitment and encouragement from the staff, the schools and the community.

We will share with you the story of the vice president; the 1st one ever in her school and from her village. A young girl, 14 years old, is the Deputy President at her school. This is something you cannot dare dream of in the past. Having been brought up by a single mother in a vulnerable family the young girl was the only daughter of her parents. "I was so shy at first," she says, "but after some time football changed me.

For several years parents did not support girls playing football but in the future, when I'm a mother, I want to support girls playing football. Breaking the silence sessions deal with issues of confidence, hygiene, rights and responsibility and learning about money. “She’s also in the top five of her class - a position usually reserved for the more outspoken boys, says her head teacher, ”Since she started participating in football league, she has opened up in terms of her performance and leadership skills." All of this is possible because of the football otherwise she would have been a child mother like many others.

It takes a lot of courage and commitment to keep a girl away from child marriage and help her pursue her dreams through education. The young girls dream is to be the Governor of Marsabit County one day in future; this will only remain as a dream if not nurtured. Daring to dream is the first step and this has been made possible because of the support you have continued to give HODI as an organisation. The donations helped purchase sanitary pads for the girls; offer life skills sessions; football sessions and above all support girls like the young girl with leadership awards to pursue her studies.

In order for a vulnerable girl to access basic education she will need tuition fees for 4 academic years in high school; sanitary pads and other essentials. This is combined with football and lifeskills sessions on being herself, being healthy, being empowered and knowledge about money giving her confidence and enabling her to have a voice and choice.

The cost of tuition fees alone for one vulnerable girl is $1,000 for one academic year. While we have 2 football pitches and a few safe spaces for the girls to play; HODI;s Dream is to have the HODI Center where the girls have access to all the services in one place and are kept away from child marriage. The physical plans are already in place and as a team we shall keep you posted on the bigger dream on making every home safe for the girls.

It’s now 4.00pm in Kenya and time to start packing and getting ready to walk home!

Girls getting ready for their1st game
Girls getting ready for their1st game


Aug 13, 2018

Kabale Halake; The Girl with Courage

Kabale Halake when she joined HODI
Kabale Halake when she joined HODI

We will use courage to describe Kabale because on several occasions she has shown it is possible to overcome challenges even when all seemed impossible. Joining HODI for her was tough because she was a girl who is not supposed to be seen outside playing football due to cultural restrictions. Imagine she had not kicked a ball before joining HODI

Her own mother forced her out of the game but she insisted and defied culture to play football and through this football a once a very shy and timid girl has risen above many expectations to for her star to shine. Making not just her mom pround but the entire country Kenya

The first time was when she led her team with no coach and teacher to support her school to the HODI Championship and won the top position. The year was 2012 and the moment still shinning bright like the morning star. Many girls her age are shy and keep off leadership but through her courage she was able to lead the team. Even when they are a goal down she screamed her heart out and then followed with words that encouraged them and made them to belief in themselves to overcome their fears.

When she did her KCPE exams she passed and as a child of a single mother no resources to take her to high school. When she was asked to repeat her class she refused and came to HODI and shared her plight with the Director HODI Fatuma Abdulkadir and together with the entire HODI staff they all chipped in to see her join form 1. Again it takes a lot of courage for a girl her age to make her case and ensure she will not miss out in her education and today she is a leader, a captain and a candidate about to sit her forth form exams.

Her leadership has gone beyond her home, her school and even Marsabit County. Once a captain always a captain she led her team to the world cup 2018 Russia FIFA Foundation Festival 2018 in Moscow Russia. Here her team was named Simba as a symbol of courage winning 3 games, 2 draws and lost only 1. Made it to the front page of the Daily Nation on July 2nd 2018 in DN2 pullout Marsabit to Moscow.

The young leader with HODI Kabale Halake was nominated to join Michael Johnstone Young Leaders in 2016 and was selected as one of the best player during the Safaricom Chapa Ndimba Eastern Region. The only memory she has of it is a phone that she lost on her maiden flight to Moscow. Below her story and journey in pictures for the past 6 years (2012-2018)! Kabale is a HODI champion you too can be a champion! Take a moment to cheer Kabale and congratulate her for her courage. She epitomises important values that all girls must posses that of respect and taking care of all her team mates just like a family. In her own words; 'Football has made me who I am today; a confident girl who is ready to take up leadership'

Through football she her learnt to be resilient and believes she has a fantastic future ahead of her as a girl, a young leader above all as as a football player already looking forward to France Women World Cup 2019 as a Kenyan Player. Gratitude is all we have on behalf of the entire team you believed in HODI to make this dream a reality. 

In the coming weeks we shall be documenting the return from moscow to Marsabit and we look forward to sharing the great journey with each of our supporters. Take a moment to share Kabale story of courage with your friends and family! 

Kabale at Home helping out her mum
Kabale at Home helping out her mum


Feb 27, 2018

At only 25 she is a Leader

Mumina running a session
Mumina running a session

At only 25, Mumina was brought up by her mother alongside her four sisters. Mumina completed her high school in 2011 but was not in a position to further her studies due to poverty. As with most of the community in this part of Kenya, her father had taken up three wives and was not able pay for her college. Mumina was forced to stay at home after completion of her secondary education.

In 2013, HODI had an advert for volunteer coaches and somehow she came across the post. Considering her love for children she did not hesitate to apply. When the list came out she was among the selected and interviewed for the position. The project was to help adolescent girls break the silence on issues that affect them through football. Mumina had never played football before and this presented a challenge in the beginning but like many struggles in her life she was able to overcome. A year down the line she was listed among the few to be retained and given a chance as field officers but they had to go through an interview process. Again, with her determination she was able to make it through and crashing her friends and peers in the process. This presented another challenge which she had to overcome and used the chance to further her studies and support her mother.

“I have always felt that my community has favoured the boys and neglected the rights of girl child that's why I felt the need to prove my worth and show that as a girl I can do better!”,
Mumina said.

In 2016, Mumina was promoted to be the Football Officer. This marked a big milestone for her; imagine being in charge of the entire program when you did not even know how to play the game in the beginning. Making her rise above her peers and be a leader who has a following with many younger people looking up to her for guidance and support. Her dream was personal growth while ensuring the target beneficiaries got the very best out of the program. But her dreams were cut short when most of the HODI staffs were sent home in January of 2017 due to unavailability of funds and she was not prepared personally for this turn of events. The 5 months she was home were the toughest, it was boring being home and doing nothing. The salary was not forthcoming and she even moved from town to one of the villages in the outskirts. Then there was a ray of hope with another opportunity to volunteer with HODI and she jumped up and down just to live her dreams of supporting other young girls and boys. 

She is at the top of her game and the sky the limit for this young lady. Starting off with no skills but today she stands tall and says she is a successful woman not because she is a millionaire or owns a bungalow. It is because she knows she has made a positive impact in the lives of young girls and boys in schools. She has worked in villages moving them from dependency to resilience and also among her peers and the community as a whole and above all she has proved to her father that a girl can do it even better than boys. Determination and commitment and HODI leading the way for her, Mumina notes that,

“HODI opened a new chapter of my life. I don't know what turn my life would have taken 5 years ago. I would probably be a housewife just like most of my schoolmates who are stay at home mothers and now look at me with admiration all thanks to HODI. Today I am a career woman and I am a young woman leader. My father is busy looking for a son to inherit him so nobody would have given me a chance to grow this much, I am forever grateful to HODI for seeing my potential”.

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