Changing lives one girl at a time


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ARIANA SOTELO

The Mirror

Each person has the power to create change and that is exactly what Kakenya Ntaiya showed us.

In a village called Enoosaen, located in the outskirts of Kenya and other parts of Africa, there are a number of girls getting married at a very young age. They are going through what is known as female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is when girls are prodded and cut around their female genitalia using, as some would say inhumane tools. Ntaiya, a young girl once herself, set out to change these grim practices in hope to better her community.

Ntayia decided what was most needed in her village was education, safety, and equality, so she created an all-girls boarding school which has helped prevent around 400 girls from having to take part in FGM. When she started this boarding school, over 100 girls came when she thought only 10 would show up.

Many young African women are faced with many struggles in their lives, among the worst being FGM.

There are many different girls from many different backgrounds that prevent them from being able to go to school. It can be anything from the girls having a very traditional family that doesn’t support them getting an education, or they don’t have the necessary tools to go.

One of the first girls helped was Faith. Faith’s family did not support her in the beginning, so she stole an egg from her house and sold it to buy one pencil. She then walked five miles to get to Ntayia’s boarding school. Today Faith is supported, healthy, and continuing to learn efficiently.

Ntayia didn’t stop after creating the boarding school either. After seeing great progress coming from her school she realized that she could do even more by helping the boys in the village.

The organization, “I’m Worth Defending,” teamed up with her and the community board to help children all over. The organization encourages gender equality, healthy habits, and basic human rights. Now there are about 10,000 boys and girls part of this organization.

Creating this boarding school was no easy feat. Actually, she started off in the same situation as many other young girls in her village, engaged to be married. Even with her destiny set in stone, she was tenacious and eventually got the opportunity to go to college. This then led her right back to her village so she could help make a positive difference there.

Ntayia wants to enforce the strength and change that one girl can bring to a community. Every person has the ability to change someone’s life, just like how she was able to change the lives of many young children in her community. Ntayia makes the audience’s jaw drop as she states that her dream is, “That all communities give every single woman and every single girl their dreams come true.” Ntayia presented her story in a way that makes everyone in the audience want to get out there and make a difference.

Ntayia took the opportunity to help so many people and won’t stop working hard to make sure that all girls can achieve their dreams. Her speech was not meant just to inform people but also to inspire them to help change the lives of others for the better.  

Click here to view the speech, “Empower a girl, transform a community”