Tertiary Education will give me a voice, where there is none
By Esther Silamo
Education will give me the confidence, the knowledge and the vehicle to empower women in my community, who have been subjected to traditions that have suppressed them. I was raised in Northern Kenya, in a remote community where today many are starving. I am fortunate enough due to circumstances to be in a position where I can apply for a scholarship, but not fortunate enough that my husband and I can afford our families’ basic needs.
By receiving a scholarship I will be able to study without putting my family at risk. It is important to me that I am contributing and that I am a career woman. Being enrolled in Psychology & Counseling will give me skills and talents for the benefit of my family and the entire community. Once I graduate I intend on helping other women and encouraging them to take up leadership responsibilities, promote gender issues, and openly talk about cultural practices like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). I will look for ways to improve living standards for the women in Rendille; teach them their rights, speak to them about family planning and create awareness about HIV/AIDS. Most of these women have not been as fortune as myself and have not gone to school and therefore are illiterate.
With the Ignite Excellence foundation’s (now the YouMeWe Foundation) help, I will be able to deal with Psychological problems that have been affecting Rendille women and African women at large. Women are psychologically physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally tortured in my tribe. Women are ‘good for nothing’ they are not valued as much as men! Women do not have any say in running daily affairs of life. They can only give birth and serve men. Therefore, education is not a priority and school is not an option.
Time for African Women Leaders
It is time for African ladies to go to school and become future leaders, take up top leadership roles and contribute to the society. In my community, youths especially girls are facing many challenges like abortion. Unmarried ladies are not allowed to have children so as a result innocent babies are killed and the mother may loose her life in the process. One of the biggest problems is that there are no health centers so people go for traditional methods, which often have complications, even death. Tragically, it is not surprising to see a young girl of twelve years getting married to an old chap of seventy years.
This degree will help me to assist youths as well as the community at large in finding the way forward or get solutions to these problems.
This is a great privilege. No one from my community has ever done this kind of education in psychology and counseling. With the help of well wishers I will one day, deliver the services the Rendille people are lacking. I intend on graduating and going back to the Randille people so I can provide services to help with the injustices of society, particularly women.