“My mother died of cancer in 2006. She was very beautiful and wore necklaces with beads of a rainbow. She treated us so well. She knew she was sick and she advised me to take care of my sisters”
At just 15, Bena is the head of her family. Her three younger sisters rely on her. She relies on getting an education so she can provide for them in the future.
She bears a heavy responsibility, but she doesn't complain. “I am now in charge because I'm the eldest girl. I have to put a lot of effort into my studies so I can support my sisters. As head of family I tell them to follow the right path in life.”
The girls' parents are dead so they live with their uncle's family — but he mistreats them and won't pay for Bena to go to school. We will. With your help, we're paying for the uniform and books that get her into the classroom.
Education is a great weapon to fight many of the harmful traditions that endanger boys and disempower girls. “People here try to say that our grandparents used to steal cattle so the young people should do the same. It's inheritance. I want the raiding to stop. It has killed many.”
“My father was killed in 2009 by cattle thieves with guns. They came from a raid in Kenya. They were angry that they had not managed to steal any cows so whoever they met on the way home they decided to kill. It was my father they met. His death was so sudden, I don't remember him giving me any advice about my life.”
Photos and story courtesy of Katharine Sidelnik