The March 4 elections in Kenya are fast approaching and Lucy Mulenkei, director of the Nanyori Shelter Network, is worried. She is haunted by the wave of violence that swept the country in the 2007 election season, when political discontent sparked widespread chaos. “We are worried that violence will erupt and are concerned about keeping our girls safe,” she wrote to MADRE Executive Director Yifat Susskind last week. “We hope we can count on your support again.”
The escalation of violence after the 2007 elections left 1,000 Kenyans dead and 650,000 internally displaced. Women and girls reported 3,500 acts of sexual violence to the police. In fact, we know that rape was systematically used as a weapon during those terrible days. MADRE was quick to act, helping Lucy keep her school in Kilgoris open during the crisis, so that girls would not have to travel home through the dangers of the countryside.
This year’s elections will take place in an even more volatile context. Already, as this recent New York Times article shows, people are being killed--targeted for their ethnicity and political allegiance. Lucy's 60 schoolgirls may again need emergency shelter.
To prepare, MADRE and Lucy are working around the clock to ensure that the Nanyori Shelter Network, normally closed for break in March, will remain open during the elections so that no student will have to risk their safety by traveling home. Your support will help provide three months of staff, food, stockpiles, and security guards to ensure that Lucy’s 60 students remain safe and cared for. Thank you for standing up for girls' safety.
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