In these uncertain and unprecedented times, one thing is certain: news about COVID-19, the novel coronavirus which has reached pandemic proportions, is everywhere. While it is important to educate yourself about how to stay safe and to take appropriate measures to do so, the news doesn’t have to dominate our lives! Let’s shift the narrative.
Today, we remember our photo exhibition Women of Kibera, which launched in October 2018. This incredible photo series was created by Nairobi-based photographer Brian Otieno, who photographed strong girls and women from age 4 to 76 who live in his home of Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya.
These photographs were accompanied by statements of hope and empowerment from these women and girls, change-makers that are speaking out and pushing back against inequality, discrimination, and injustice to create a fairer world.
Keep reading for a selection of quotes and images.
Siyama Ismail, Peace Ambassador
“A woman is a special person. it’s always a woman who’s there for the family before anybody else. A woman is there for a fellow woman and for the society. A woman is always pitiful and we get so emotionally attached to things more than men. That’s what makes us stronger, more special and always respected.”
Rukia Abdallah Sebit, teacher
“As much as I have different mentors and role models, my mom has played a major role in me being the woman I am today. It has never been easy and I have seen the struggle she went through in bringing us up, ensuring we were on the right track in life. And if she didn’t raise us in this background, I wouldn’t have been the person I am today.
My dream is to see a better future not only for me but also for the upcoming generations, where people can deal with the things that comes with awareness in globalization and technology.”
Hamza Ahmed, women’s rights activist
“In my years I have come across several cases of sexual violence and harassment on women and girls in my community. Most of these cases would go unreported because women were ashamed to come out and speak. Also, at the local police station, the officers on duty were always men and women would be afraid to go and report. So together with a group of other women, we advocated for a “women desk” at the police station and women would go and report other female officers stationed there who were equally aware on how to handle such cases of gender-based violence.”
Lilian Mokobi, graduate in education
“I had mixed emotions when I found out that I was pregnant. I cried and laughed as well. Each day I would look at my tummy growing big, and I would feel bad realizing that I was about to become a single mother. But I had to keep all the thoughts aside and stay strong for my baby.
I want my daughter to thrive: to embrace and nurture her talents, send her to a good school. I work hard, but we also need policy improvements: access to financial support for single moms like me, and no discrimination in the job market.”
Daphne Adhiambo, social activist
“I am aggressive, ambitious and a woman with so much hope for young women and girls living in Kibera. My goal is to make a difference in the lives of children and girls especially those from less privileged backgrounds, affected or infected with HIV. I want to mentor the youngsters in my community through abstinence and life skills programs, see more girls from Kibera finish secondary school and achieve their dreams in life.”
Asha Jaffar, freelance journalist
I wish to have a community where there’s zero level of sexual violence and girls dropping out of school. I have been around so many supportive women who are always there to help and assist whenever there’s a problem. I want to be like them.
The Right By Her campaign focusses on four core rights areas: harmful practices (with a focus on FGM and child marriage), HIV & AIDS, GVAW, and SRHR. Stand with us in the fight for women’s rights and say NO to the harmful practice of child marriage, which enables the continuance of obstetric fistula, a condition which is preventable and avoidable with the right care. Stand #RightByHer.