Stories of Girls’ Resistance
Naomi, Kenya


“I wanted women to be viewed as any other human beings and especially girls in society to be appreciated and allowed to grow like girls. Because in a situation where a 12-year-old gets married, that’s a human rights violation by itself of the highest order. But then even when that has happened she cannot live in peace and she has to die in the marriage because she has been killed. She has been slaughtered literally like an animal, do you understand? For me I just wanted girls to be girls and I wanted children to be children… can they be happy without having to worry about all of the violence that surrounds them? And then of course I wanted to be a young person free from brutality. So by extension I had a self-interest, I didn’t want to be a young girl, a young woman in a society that was very judgmental. In a society that could determine within a blink of an eye that you are gone.”

Naomi’s Artifact

My artifact…I did not choose it, it was such an interesting coincidence. For many years I have been mentoring young people because as I was growing up as a young activist, as a young woman human rights defender, I was privileged to have mentors and I know the power of mentoring. So I decided just like people walked with me to become who I am today, I had the responsibility of giving back, so I have been mentoring for the last 35 or so years. Mentoring people in the human rights space, mainly young people, and one of my messages has always been equality, non-discrimination and equity. And most importantly, I emphasize the role of women and girls because where I grew up in the slum, I experienced a lot of inequality, I experienced a lot of violence against young girls and women. So my message was constantly equality and power to the girls, because a lot of us as young girls are voiceless. So as I was doing my mentoring business this group of young men and women in Kibera who became very close friends of mine who I met heard for a period of three years, one young man came to me and said, ‘Naomi, I have studied you for two years and if I was to summaries you in a very, very short way, this is what I would say,’ and the guy produced this artefact. I love it, that it is written.