– Samburuland women are celebrating their village’s 25th birthday since it was born
– The special local village, called Umoja, is exclusively inhabited by women. It was reportedly started by Rebecca Lolosoli, as the leader, and other 15 women
– Men are not allowed to step foot in Umoja village, no matter how aggrieved they feel, and this is for a good reason
It’s been over two decades of steady growth since Umoja village was established in the heart of Samburuland, in Northern Kenya. The local women recently celebrated their village’s 25th birthday.
The village was reportedly started by one Rebecca Lolosoli in 1990 to serve as a safe haven for women and girls who had suffered sexual and domestic violence. It was also created to shield young girls from forced early marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and other challenges.
In this village, only women are welcomed, a position that is said to have offended men, some of who have reportedly threatened Mrs Lolosoli with dire consequences.
Mrs Lolosoli reportedly started the village at a time when Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and forced marriages were rampant in Samburuland. She wanted to protect girls and women that were looking for a safe place to stay, far away from the abuse of men.
It started with just 15 women, according to Mrs Lolosoli, but the number has grown significantly over the years and the village itself has experienced tremendous socio-economic growth.
“We now have a clinic and school where the girls and the young women can go,” says Mrs Lolosoli on her village website.
Their economic activities include bread-making, which is their principal source of income. They have also set up tourist campsites on the edge of the village. Revenue collected is used to supplement their incomes.
Watch the video of the Kenyan village where men are not allowed to live among women: