This village in Kenya allows only women to live there but for a reason. Umoja, the village in Kenya is a refuge for all the women who have survived sexual violence and it is documented that it’s a thriving single-sex community. Some women have survived horrific rapes and gang rapes before they found refuge in this village.
Formation of the village
The women in this village wear traditional Samburu dress of patterned skirts, brightly coloured shirts and a colourful wrap on their shoulders. The village was founded in 1990 by few women who were survivors of rape by British soldiers. The population of the village has now expanded by size and also by cause. Today any woman who has gone through any form of violence including women escaping child marriage, female genital mutilation, domestic violence and rape are part of the village.
Building up a strong community
There are reportedly 47 women and 200 children in Umoja. They are educating themselves on issues such as early marriage and genital mutilation, they also gather regularly to discuss and take decisions on matters. The women in the village are also intimidated and threatened by their husbands to return but the women have vowed not to return. Their efforts to own land was also met with violent behaviour from men as men in the part of the country believe women should not own land.
Today the women run a clinic and a school and also make money by breadmaking and supplement their income by running a campsite for tourists on the edge of their village.