Meet Miriam Mwamose. Miriam’s story, like so many stories in Kenya, is filled with unexpected twists, many heartbreaking challenges, and frequent miracles. As a junior in secondary school, Miriam already knew she wanted to change the world. A vocal human rights advocate, she leapt at the invitation to start a girls advocacy group. Miriam was the founder of Save Our Sisters (SOS). SOS is made up of female secondary school students who want to mentor younger girls to help them stay in school. Miriam led the group until the time that she graduated from secondary school.
The Usalama Center will be a hub for SOS group activities and mentoring. While we complete the research and planning phases of the Usalama Center, we have already started providing some of the services needed by girls in the region. One of those services that has been in the works for some time is a ground-breaking conference provided by girls and for girls.
Binti Zinduka means “Girl Rising” in Swahili. It’s the name of a girls conference planned for girls in our service area. It was planned jointly by Kenya Keys and the SOS group. Everyone was so eager to participate in this conference, the first of its kind in rural Kenya.
As the conference plans started taking shape, Rinda remembered Miriam Mwamose and asked Joseph Mwengea, our in-country director, about where she was now. That was when we realized that somehow Miriam got lost after graduation. No one in Kenya Keys knew what became of her. Through the process of planning the Binti Zinduka conference, we found Miriam. Although she had qualified for higher education, she could not afford the tuition and so she had been living in her village, simply doing what she could to keep learning and advocate for others.
The Binti Zinduka conference was successful by every measure. Nearly 300 girls traveled from great distances to attend. The presentations were informative and inspiring. The workshops taught valuable skills and allowed girls to gain strength from each other. Artistic presentations communicated the power and beauty of girls rising to meet the challenges that surround them and their communities.
In keeping with Miriam’s desire to be a role model and advocate for others, her own experience in the conference will serve as a powerful example to girls like her. Through her participation, Kenya Keys was able to find a sponsor who will support Miriam’s goal to continue her education. When girls wonder if it’s worth it to stay in school, or if their involvement in good causes is truly valuable, they need look no further than Miriam to find their answer. We look forward to watching Miriam continue her education and her significant, positive influence on others.
We greatly value your contributions to the Usalama Center. Stories like Miriam’s will become even more common as ongoing donations allow us to continue to provide opportunities for learning and growth.
SOS Girls Advocacy Group