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Girl married to 78 year old man at age of 9 tells her story

Picture Credit: www.todayonline.com
Picture Credit: www.todayonline.com

When 13 year old Younis was just 9 years old her parents arranged for her to be married to a 78 year old man, a man old enough to be her grandfather.

This marriage was according to the Samburu tradition. The Samburu are an ancient Kenyan tribe which is said to be very similar in languages and customs to the Masaai tribe.

According to CNN this is Younis’s account: 

"When I was about nine years old, my father married me off to an old man who was 78 years old," Younis explains, the memories of her harrowing experience still raw. "I went to his home and I stayed with him one week.

"He told me that I will be a wife but I was just innocent, I wanted to come to school. But that man wanted me to be a third wife. I told him, I will not be your wife, and he caned me.”

Younis then found out that there is a woman that helps girls in her situation. She then ran away from Baragoi where she was and walked barefoot to Maralal, a distance of about 101kms and there she met Josephine Kulea.

'Kulea took me to [the] children's office, she rescued me' Younis says.

Josephine Kulea and her Samburu Girls Foundation rescue Kenyan girls at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. She began rescuing girls in 2011 and she began with her own cousins. 

"I realised we are the only ones doing FGM, female genital mutilation, the other communities [are] not doing it," she explains. "I ... came to realize that there are things that are not right and I need to make a difference, that's how I started rescuing girls." Kulea said.

She rescued her 10 year old cousin who was promised to be married. Her family then replaced the girl with her seven year old sister and Kulea rescued her too and had her uncles arrested.

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