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Living through trauma

 A therapy session [Courtesy, Freepik]

Brenda Karimi was sexually abused multiple times by a close family relative between the age of eight to 11.”

Speaking in an interview with Eve Magazine, Brenda said that at that time she thought it was something every child went through. This was not until she went through a training on child protection that she realised what happened was wrong.

“I became unruly in school, I would steal books, throw stones at girls, steal shoes and throw them in the latrine…” she explained

“I was responding to what was happening to me and I did not know any other way,” she added.

In a mentorship programme, staff from Compassion International, a non-organisation for child advocacy, encouraged her. 

Brenda says after some time she was able to confide with someone from the mentorship organization.

“I told them if they reported me to my abuser, I would commit suicide, somehow they warned him because the abuse stopped”.

This brought a paradigm shift in her life. Driven by their goal of delivering children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty, the organisation sponsored Brenda in her studies up to campus. Through the sponsorship, basic needs were provided for.

“Sometimes I would be given food, beddings, mattresses, personal care products and medication,” she said.

Surprisingly, no one in her family knew about the abuse until she was around age 22.

“He attempted to rape my sister and that was when I spoke up,” she said.

Unfortunately, no action was taken, “there was not much evidence,” she explained.

In university, Brenda went through therapy and she was able to overcome the trauma.

Brenda has brought change not only in her life and that of her family, but also to other girls across the country.

Girl child rights

She advocates for girl child rights and runs mentorship programmes.

She has partnered with organisations in over 30 counties and has run child protection campaigns in various parts of the country, reaching out to over 10,000 girls in Kenya.

This has seen a drop in cases of pregnancies, and school dropouts.

“We have managed to engage the community at the grassroots level to solve issues affecting girls on early pregnancy, sexual abuse and low self-esteem and championing for them to stay in school,”

Besides advocacy, she runs the BK marketing company, a registered social marketing company that deals with behaviour change in the community.

She is a certified trainer by the International Label Organisation, an organisation that gives entrepreneurship training for both the youth and the old in the community.

“Every girl has a future, no girl was born to fail,” she says.

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