Woman Feted By the State for Her Relentless Efforts in Promoting Education

Counties Editor's Pick Social Tana River

Tana River county heroine Rukia Kunyo has today received her presidential award delivered by County Commissioner Mbogai Rioba for her efforts in fighting Female Genital Mutilation, early child marriages, and advocating for girl child education.

Kunyo who is in her early forties, a laboratory technician by profession said in a family of 16 girls, she was the only one who went to school.

She was employed as a housemaid at a tender age by a primary school headmaster but one day she stormed his office and demanded to be admitted to the school.

Kunyo said the challenges facing children in Madogo, Bura constituency necessitated her to start advocacy, and rescue programmes to save the girl child.

She lamented that her society still doesn’t educate girls thus many are married off when they reach 15 years or drop off from schools as a result of pregnancies saying they are continuing with sensitisation meetings unabated.

“Our hinterlands in Madogo have a lot of problems. We decided in 2014 to form a girl child help women’s group. We have been called names, and accused of doing business with the girls we rescued,” said Kunyo.

She added that once they have rescued a child from their homes for fear of victimisation they refuse to go back after the culprits are apprehended.

Rukia and her group of two women visit schools and villages to educate and sensitise girls and their parents on the importance of girl child education and to shun outdated harmful cultural practices.

Their work faces hurdles as many witnesses do not want to give evidence for the perpetrators of FGM, defilement, and other atrocities against girls to face the law so as to act as a deterrent to others, but they prefer to settle the matters through elders.

Rukia appealed to the county government of Tana River to establish a children’s department in Madogo as they are forced to travel to the neighbouring Garissa County for services that are limited.

By Sadik Hassan

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