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After failed bid to become a nun, now I rescue girls

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Growing up in Ndunyu Chege, Muranga County, Wangari  says she witnessed untold gender-based violence meted on women in her village. “What was happening in the village was like a competition to see man could beat their wives more severely; I remember one time when a man chopped his wife’s arm from the shoulder!” she says.

Wangari says such incidents made her hate the institution of marriage. In Class Six when a group of nuns visited her school to speak to students, she made up her mind to become one of them. This was a decision made to avoid the institution of marriage and the violence she had come to associate it with.

“When the nuns visited and told us about the vocation, I got a way out of what I thought was bad and I started wearing gowns synonymous with how nuns dress,” she recalls.

Her father, a teacher in a local school, supported her choice and changed how he looked at girls and their place in society. He encouraged Wangari to follow her heart. She would make the first false start into sisterhood when after her O-Level education at St Francis Girls School Mangu, she joined Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious community.

“The sisters run a home for the old people and this is where I was taken and I was given a job of looking after an 89-year-old man,” Wangari says. After a few days, she quit and joined Ursuline Sisters but, in her mind, it was still about escaping the institution of marriage. Her superiors realised this and gave her a two-month break to go and reflect on whether this was what she really wanted.

“Two senior sisters in the community sat me down and asked me if I had really made the right decision and I tried to convince them that indeed I had but they decided that I had to go and think over it before I could come back,” she says.

She never went back. On the same day she left, she went to live with a lady whose husband was a military officer to avoid going back home. While in the house, she recalls the husband meting out violence on his wife to the point of burning her with a hot iron despite the fact that she was pregnant. That very day, she left the house and went back home to her parents.

“I told them that I was no longer going to be a nun, so my dad took me to college where I studied for a diploma in marketing,” she says.

She got her first job, starting off as at the front office desk at the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board (Kasneb), she would work at the institution for 14 years before she left and started a magazine focusing on gender-based violence.

The journey to saving girls from early marriages would start in earnest when she was called to the Nairobi Women’s Hospital’s Gender Recovery Centre to do a story about a 13-year-old girl who had been defiled by a teacher and gotten pregnant.

She recalls: “We were told that the teacher had bribed the girl’s father with Sh3,000 and I asked to be given the girl to care for after she had left hospital.” From this experience, Wangari says she realised she did not have to wait until girls got themselves into these sticky situations before they were rescued. She says prevention is better than cure.

The 52-year-old has since then been involved in gender-based violence recoveries through the organization, Woman’s Hope. She has been rescuing girls from early marriages and pregnancies and putting them back in school. Through the organisation, she has rescued more than 500 girls.

How does she do this?

Using local chiefs and the Nyumba Kumi committees, she gets to know vulnerable girls who she picks and takes through a programme at the centre she runs in Karen. Social workers also help in identifying these girls.

After rescuing the first girl, she started an initiative called ‘Sweat It out for a Needy Cause’ where the fitness enthusiast would, together with her friends, donate Sh500 whenever they ran. From the funds they collected, they bought hygiene effects for vulnerable girls.

“We realised that these vulnerable girls were prone to getting early pregnancies and (into) marriages because of promises for small things like sanitary towels; we then started training the girls we rescued at a house we had rented which could care for 30 girls before moving to the current bigger centre in Hardy, Karen,” says Wangari.

The girls are taken through a three-month training every year during school holidays in April, August and December, where they learn some basic skills. They meet counselors and mentors who speak to them. As part of the initiative, she came up with a ‘Dignity Pack’, which contains sanitary towels, panties, soap and petroleum jelly because in giving sanitary towels, some girls would come saying they have no panties which still exposes them to predators.  Wangari says that through the initiative, girls have learn skills while other have gone back to complete their formal education.

“When I get a girl who should be in school, I ensure that they first get back to school because I have experienced that in waiting we could lose the girl to early marriage of pregnancy,” she says.

Currently, the centre is making face masks for sale to as a means of sustaining the girls and some of the families they support. She has also roped in her zumba class to help in feeding the vulnerable, especially in Gataka, during these difficult times, which have left families struggling. When we caught up with her earlier this month, it was at an event at Tone La Maji Centre in Nakimurunya, Kajiado County, putting a smile on the faces of 33 boys.

By Standardmedia.co.ke

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Entertainment

Michelle Ntalami sets record straight days after fueling lesbianism rumors with Makena Njeri

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Last week, Michelle Ntalami and Makena Njeri sparked speculations that they were an item after Makena serenaded the Marini Naturals’ CEO with sweet words on her birthday.

Now, the Nairobi-born entrepreneur has decided to clear the air on the issue once and for all, calling out clout chasers for “affixing labels on people who are not what they call them”.

Michelle articulated that relationships’ dynamics are too complex for someone to just slap a label on another person. Before clarifying:

If I haven’t said it myself, you have no right to go labeling me this or that. I hardly address trolls. But today I’m setting the record straight! Get this from both the Queen and the horse’s mouth; I AM NOT WHAT YOU ARE LABELLING ME.

This was all she had to stay, before categorically stating “she is not here to explain her life to anybody nor admit to any allegations leveled against her”.

When I work hard, you troll. When I play hard, you troll. When I love hard, you troll. TF?

The young entrepreneur went ahead to confess to her fans that “she never signed up to be anyone’s role model”.

So if her life is a bother to anyone, then they could as well pack and leave.

I signed up to live my dream! If this has inspired others along the way, great! So pick what floats your boat about me and move with it. But don’t tell me how I should live my life, what I should ‘admit’ to or what position you reckon I like.

By Ghafla.com

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Lifestyle

Clergy held for defiling five girls

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A church elder has been arrested following claims of sexually molesting five girls in Kakamega town. Kakamega Central Sub County Police Commander David Kabena while addressing the media in his office yesterday, said the suspect has been luring the girls aged between two and five with freebies into his rented house in Amalemba estate where he commits the indecent acts.

He said the girls have undergone medical check-up. “We are also hunting down another accomplice who works in cohorts with the suspect. The information we have gathered on the ground is that the young man who is at large is the one sent to lure the girls to the suspect’s house,” said Kabena.

Kabena said they are also interrogating the suspect to help them determine whether he is part of the syndicate that has been kidnapping children in Kakamega town.

According to Kabena, parents had abdicated their parenting responsibility during the Covid-19 pandemic. He noted that most of the children who went missing are those sent by their parents to hawk fast foods in the streets.

“We are on the lookout for any underage girls hawking bananas, groundnuts and vegetables in Kakamega town. We will arrest their parents and have them prosecuted for abdicating their responsibilities as parents,” said Kabena.

Hawking foods

He also revealed that gambling was on the rise during the Covid-19 pandemic when most people are at home. He said two days ago, they set ablaze over 40 gambling machines valued at Sh3.28 million as a single machine goes at a street value of Sh80,000.

Kabena said only the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) is mandated to license betting firms that engage in legal business.

“These lottery joints are a hiding place for criminals and they are the major cause for the high dropout rate of school going children and teenage pregnancies. We have also received cases where university and college students lose money meant for paying school fees to gambling,” said Kabena.

By Standard.co.ke

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Lifestyle

Doping: Wilson Kipsang digging in for a fight with World Athletics

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Former World marathon recorder holder Wilson Kipsang’s management, Volare Sports, has announced it will appeal the ban issued to their athlete on Friday.

Kipsang was handed a four-year ban for anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) that included using a fake photo of a traffic accident to justify one of four missed whereabouts appointments, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said.

Volare Sports said it had been informed of the decision of the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal in the case between Wilson and World Athletics. The Disciplinary Tribunal found Wilson guilty of violating the anti-doping rules.

“In January 2020 World Athletics accused Wilson of alleged Whereabouts Failures (article 2.4) and alleged (attempted) tampering (article 2.5). The Disciplinary Tribunal found Wilson guilty of violation of both,” Volare Sports said in a Facebook post.

Kipsang’s management said the two-time London Marathon winner will appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

“The decision is not final and conclusive yet. Wilson has the opportunity to appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

“We will study and analyse the decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal and consider the further legal steps. Pending this process we will not communicate anything more about it,” said Volare Sports.

The management emphasised that there is no case of use of doping and no prohibited substance was ever found.

“Volare Sports and Wilson strongly believe in a clean sport and support anti-doping measures for a 100%. The accusation regarding alleged/attempted tampering (article 2.5) concerned an explanation that was given in the results management process regarding a possible Whereabouts Failure and did not concern tampering with a doping test itself,” read the post.

Kipsang joins a list of popular Kenyan athletes who have been sanctioned in recent years, including 2008 Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, former Boston and Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo and 2016 Olympic marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong.

Athletics – Virgin Money London Marathon – London – 26/4/15. Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge and Kenya’s Stanley Biwott during the Men’s Elite race.[Reuters / Paul Childs]

Kipsang’s ban came a day after the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) charged Florence Jepkosgei Chepsoi with the offence of presenting false documents to the agency as defence against an anti-doping rule violation.

Jepkosgei was arraigned before the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Eldoret on Monday and charged under section 42 (1) paragraph (e) of the Anti-Doping Act.

The athlete pleaded not guilty and was released on bail. The case will be heard on August 13, 2020.

Current Kenyan law stipulates a jail term of up to three years for support staff found guilty in connection with doping, but not for athletes.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said last week they will pass legislation to criminalise doping offences.

During a meeting with veteran athletes, CS Mohamed said that they were working closely with ADAK to present the document to Parliament for debate.

If the Bill is passed, offenders will serve jail terms as the country intensifies its fight against the vice.

From 2004 to August 2018, 138 Kenyan athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, according to a WADA report published in September 2018.

With their high number of dopers, Kenya was placed under category A on the list of countries being watched together with Nigeria, Ethiopia, Bahrain, Morocco, Ukraine and Belarus.

By Standard.co.ke

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