The story behind The Girls Future
When Silvester Ochieng learned about the sexual assault of a close family member, and witnessed her exclusion from society in the aftermath, he knew something needed to change. Together with team members Denzel, Faith and Sharon, he founded The Girls Future initiative:
“Having seen sexual assault to a close family member and side effects she faced among them stigmatisation from family and friends at 15 years inspired me to create a platform to help protect, educate and empower young people in my community against such atrocities with a belief that it takes a village to raise a child.”
Safe spaces through sports and education
The Girls Future (TGF) supports young girls who are systematically disadvantaged or even violated against. For example, the initiative provides counselling for sexually abused girls, donates sanitary towels and offers professional computer classes for free. Together with Abasha, TGF volunteers work passionately to create a better community, one which gives equal access and opportunities to girls and boys. “I volunteer with TGF throughout their mission to create safe spaces for young people through sports and education,” Silvester explains.
In Busia, Kenya, gender inequality and violence against women continue to pose a problem for the safety of women and girls. Denzel Washingtone, co-founder of TGF describes how this leads to women being denied access to equal opportunities:
“Growing up as a young kid, I witnessed so many forms of domestic violence on young women and girls probably because they did not know their rights and how to defend themselves from physical abuse and emotional torture.
They were deprived of their right to education and denied a chance to be enlightened and become individuals of substance in the society. Instead they were seen as objects of sexual exploitation and procreation.
It is for this reason that I was motivated to become a youth volunteer at TGF to champion the drive for social change in the community, and to see to it that young women and girls are treated equal as the male in the society by eliminating any form of discrimination.”
No girl should go through this
For Sandra Hawi, The Girls Future is an opportunity to make a change and protect young girls, making sure no girl goes through what she experienced.
“I grew up in a domestic violent home, violence was a norm at our home. I hated the experience at home because it tortured me psychological and affected me in all aspects.
One time I got tired of it all and ran away from home, this never ended well because the person I thought I would be safe with sexually violated me and I did nothing about it, I think maybe because I didn’t know what to do or who to run to. I felt like it was the end of the world for me.
I volunteer at TGF not as a victim but as a woman who wants to see change in the society, empower our young girls with the right information on matters sexual abuse and mental health and provide a safe space where they can share their challenges without feeling judged. I wouldn’t want to see any girl go through what I went through.”
Do you want to support The Girls Future’s mission to fight against gender-based discrimination? Find out, how you can help: