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From a 9-year-old child bride to a secondary exam champion

A former child bride from Samburu County who was married off at nine years old has beat all odds after scoring a B- in the just released KCSE examinations results.

Nineteen year old Rosilla Lenanyokie was married off to a 46 year old man after she was forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as culture dictates.

Samburu Girls Foundation Director and founder Dr Josephine Kulea sits with nine year old child bride Rosella Lenanyokie at the Maralal referral hospital soon after she was rescued. Photo courtesy of Samburu Girls Foundation 

After being married, the young girl took up wifely duties at Ng’ari village in the outskirts of Maralal town.

While she was not at home looking after her husband’s goats, Rosilla was tasked with hawking milk in Maralal town since she was already a bride.

As fate would have it, in 2011, Rosilla was spotted hawking milk by children rights activist Josephine Kulea who rescued her in collaboration with the relevant authorities and took her to the Samburu Girls Foundation (SGF) an institution for rescued girls founded by Kulea.

“After being rescued, we offered her psychosocial support before enrolling her to an accelerator class later which she joined high school,” Kulea said.

Kulea added that Rosilla was among the first cohorts of girls she rescued after founding SGF and faced a lot of backlash from the community for challenging and trying to change age old customs.

“I faced a lot of backlash and accusations, but today, I am proud of the work God called me to do, so many like her have succeeded in graduating, getting jobs and helping their families. Always fight for what is right.

Education is an equaliser. It empowers and bridges the gap between the rich and the poor,” Kulea added.

Rosilla went to Consolata primary school and St Mary’s primary school and later joined St Theresa Girls in Wamba Samburu East Sub County where she sat her KCSE and scored a B- .

Rosilla said that she wants to study Information Technology (IT) and specialise in software engineering combined with cyber security.

Last year, 21 rescued girls from the Samburu Girls Foundation sat for their KCSE in different schools across the country.

By Robert Githu

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