Tears of joy poured freely from the eyes of Sylvia Keeiz Kosikil, as she was reunited with her family at Ewaso Ngiro area, Narok South Sub- County, after 12 years of being in a rescue centre.
Ms Kosikil, 20, escaped her home in the year 2009 to skive a forced Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) that her father had planned in a bid to marriage her off.
Nevertheless, when she realised her father’s plans to ‘cut’ her and marry her off to an old man, she escaped to a church where she hid for days before the faithful secretly secured a place for her at the Tasaru Girls Rescue Centre in Narok town.
“I was only ten years old then but I had learnt in church that FGM was not a good practice and it could cause harm on my body. This is what made me to seek refuge in the church,” she recalled.
After the rescue to the Children’s home, Ms Kosikil said she was received well by the management who helped her to settle down and promised to take her to school.
“I had never been in school before, instead, I was spending my life grazing livestock and helping in domestic cores as my father had vowed never to take me to school,” she recalled her bitter beginning.
The young adult remembered how she was taken to Siana Boarding Primary School in Mara Ward in the year 2010. However, being a big bright girl, she did not begin in class one but started in class three. After primary school, the lady said she joined Maasai Girls Secondary School where she sat for her KCSE examination this year and scored a C+ (plus) grade.
“I am too excited that I have gained myself a grade that will help me join a nursing College. I have always dreamt to be a nurse and am looking forward to join Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) to undertake the nursing course,” she said.
The ever-smiling girl expressed her gratitude to Ms Agnes Pareyio, the proprietor of Tasaru Girls’ Rescue Centre for holding her hands during the education journey without which she could not have made to get that far.
“I surely do not know where I could have been, today, if it were not for the rescue centre. I wonder what kind of a person I would be today. I thank God for the rescue centre that has saved many girls like me,” she said.
The girl’s father Mzee Musa Kosikil could not hide his joy as he embraced his child to welcome her back home after 12 years of being at the rescue centre.
“I loved this girl too much and I thought the best I could give her is to let her look after my cattle, sheep and goat so that when she comes of age, I will marry her off,” confessed the old man.
However, he shed tears of joy, saying her daughter had gone back home a better person than he thought promising to support her achieve her dreams.
“You are so welcomed my daughter at home. I receive you with my two hands and assure you I will protect you so that no harm will befall you again,” he said.
The proprietor of Tasaru Girls’ Rescue Centre, Ms Agnes Pareyio, reiterated that she received the girl when she was very young and naive.
Pareyio who is also the Anti – FGM Board Chairperson said the young girl was very obedient and God fearing who has helped in mentoring other girls at the rescue centre.
“We have come to reconcile the girl with her parents so that she can start her life a fresh in her home. The reconciliation process has taken some time but we are happy that the family is ready to take their daughter back,” said Ms Pareyio.
One of the neighbours, Isayia Banson, said the girl has been a good example to other girls in the community because she agreed to say no to FGM.
Banson reiterated that the community has now learnt the value of educating a girl child because she has equal rights with the boy child.
“This is a lesson to all the community members that exposing girls to early marriages and FGM does not build them. The best thing you can give to them is education because they have equal rights with the boy child,” said Banson.
Ms Kosikil story is an inspiration to young girls that they have a role to play in ending the retrogressive cultural practice by saying ‘No’ to the female ‘cut’ so as to live a decent life.
Exactly two years ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta made a firm commitment to put to an end the female ‘cut’ by the year 2022 that is persistent in some communities.
The enhancement of the prohibition of FGM Act 2011 was a key milestone in the campaign to end FGM in the Country.
By Ann Salaton