All-Female African Village Still Thriving After 10 Years
The all-female village of Umoja, Kenya is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year as a prosperous community after ten years of struggle and opposition. Umoja, meaning “unity” in Swahili, was founded ten years ago by a group of homeless women who had been left by their husbands because they were raped. The husbands claimed that their wives had shamed them and their villages. Umoja has served and continues to serve as a safe haven for young women escaping violence, female genital mutilation, and forced marriage., according to the Washington Post.
Approximately 36 women live in the village, running their own cultural center and a tourist campsite for the nearby Samburu National Reserve. At the cultural center, the women sell crafts and the traditional Samburu beaded necklaces. This has been such a successful project that the women have enough money to send their children to school for the first time. In their previous village lives, many husbands would insist that the children help with the livestock, but these women have the money and decision-making power to choose education for their children. Some men attempted to start an all-male village close by, but the endeavor was unsuccessful.
Rebecca Lolosoli, the matriarch and chief of Umoja, was recently invited to speak before the United Nations in New York at a world conference on gender empowerment. When commenting on the achievements of the village, Lolosoli said, “We’ve seen so many changes in these women. They’re healthier and happier. They dress well. They used to have to beg. Now, they’re the ones giving out food to others,” reports The New York Times.
Media Resources: New York Times 12/7/05; Washington Post 7/11/05
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .