Osikol: Advocating for Equality

“I want to stand as a role model for girls  in the same situation as me, I want them to stand tall knowing that they will overcome it.”

 

OSIKOL
Bachelors of Laws (LLB)
Class of 2019

My father died when I was eight years old. My father’s death was a tragedy, no one knew for three days.
 

My mother was left with the five of us girls, and my paternal uncle took control of everything. He promised to take care of our family and educate us, but instead he took everything and left us in poverty. My mother had to leave her husband’s home in Uganda and return to her mother’s home in Kenya. My mother was helpless and she decided to surrender us to my maternal aunt who took care of us. When I was in Form 2, my aunt died and that was the start of many problems.

The situation forced my mother to take us to the new school that was twelve kilometers by foot, a walk that I took daily. When I was in Form 3, my maternal uncle (who was also the literature teacher at my school) refused to care for us even though my late father had supported his education up to university level. My mother could not afford to pay for my school fees, and due to these arrears, I did not have meals at school nor textbooks. I often borrowed from friendly schools, sometimes unsuccessfully, and it was hard to prepare for my final examination. In order to survive, my mother and I started illegally brewing alcohol to sell (known as busaa and chang’aa). When this business failed, we started working on farms as a livelihood. I even worked in my uncle’s home for full days as a slave servant, without even being offered a bite to eat. At one point, our grass-thatched house was destroyed by strong winds, so we spent our nights outside for four months.

When I was sixteen years old, my uncle took out a loan. He wanted to exchange some of the money to pay for my school fees, but only if I had sex with him. I refused and shed bitter tears. I told him that God’s plan for me to go to school would remain no matter what. My uncle told me that I was stupid for refusing because he was ready to pay my school fees. One day, he found my younger sister and I in the house, and he almost defiled me. We told him that we were going to scream and alert the neighbors. We then fled back to our poor mother and started life at the bottom.

It was difficult for us girls to be born alone without anyone to defend us, and those in the community would laugh at my mother, saying that she only gave birth to prostitutes only because we are all girls in the family. I attempted suicide three times but I did not die. I had given up but God was still with me. My break came when the then Kenyan President Kibaki gave a full fee waiver to all students. I was then able to earn my high school certificate.

I later learned of Freely In Hope and the work they do. I successfully applied for a scholarship and pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Law (LLB).

 

I graduated in 2019 with Second Class Honors. I am now waiting to join the Kenya School of Law to become an advocate in the high courts.

Since graduating from university, what are you doing now?


Because FIH funded my education, I am now a lawyer and a leader in my community. Since graduating, I have begun volunteer work at Busia Court, and am also serving as an advisor in our constituency as I wait to join the Kenya School of Law.

How have you transformed since being with FIH?


FIH has given me a chance for an education and they are fulfilling my dream of being a lawyer. My dignity has been restored and I have regained respect in my community. I am valued, I can smile, and I have forgiven the people who hurt me. My Christian faith has played a huge role in my journey towards healing.

Before FIH, I was a traumatized and hopeless young girl who had nothing. Now, I am healed and transformed; I have found happiness and I enjoy mentoring the young girls in my community. I am now a great leader, and I can attribute my leadership skills to FIH because they trained me how to lead myself and others.

What was your most favorite moment at FIH?


My favorite moment was my first day at FIH, where I was awarded the scholarship to pursue my law degree. The work of FIH is important because it is ending sexual violence against women by providing holistic education to vulnerable girls like I was.

What is your future vision for yourself and your community?


I aspire to become a professor in law, and to be a legal advocate for other girls who have experienced the same issues that I have. My role will be to offer legal guidance to girls in our community. 

I believe that both boys and girls are equal. I want to stand as a role model for girls who have been in the same situation as mine, I want for them to stand tall and know that they will overcome it. I hope to one day start a charity to help empower vulnerable girls in my community, so that they will believe that they are the change they want to see. 

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July’s Hopeful News

Our Kenyan team finally got to move all of our high school scholars to the safe house! We are excited for the opportunity to engage them more, both academically and psycho-socially.

July Highlights

This month, we distributed clothing to our Malkia women and graduated scholars in Leadership Development and Entrepreneurship.

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