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C*LTURE: Umoja

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

The village of Umoja which means ‘unity’ in Swahili - is a guarded sanctuary for women only.  First founded in 1990 for 15 women who were raped by British soldiers. Now the village has grown and flourished into a safe community for women who are trying to escape an abusive situation. Genital mutilation, sexual assault, domestic violence or child marriage.


Located in Samburu, northern Kenya, the Samburu people are closely related to the Maasai Tribe. There are around 50 women, along with roughly 200 children. Once the male children reach the age of 18 they must leave the village. 

The elders educate the women and girls from surrounding Samburu villages on issues such as early marriage and female genital mutilation. Under the ‘tree of speech’, women gather to make decisions. The community live a humble and safe life under the protection of each other.


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