Caroline Wairimu Kamau from Kenya is OD Young Person of the Month for February 2020!
Our Young Person of the Month is Caroline Wairimu Kamau from Kenya! Caroline is the Founder and Executive Director of Entito Sidai, a youth led platform based in Kajiado that seeks to eradicate retrogressive practices that denies girls their rights. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Armed Conflicts, Peace Studies and Sociology from the University of Nairobi.
Despite winning the Founder of the Year Awards (FOYA) 2019 Social Founder of the Year Award under 30, Caroline still believes that her journey in emancipating such vulnerable girls from this retrogressive practices is just beginning and it is everyone’s duty to always protect children in our societies. Caroline emerged the People’s Choice Winner during the 2019 OD Impact Challenge!
Read her story below and be inspired!
CAROLINE WAIRIMU KAMAU
Caroline Wairimu Kamau is the Founder and Executive Director of Entito Sidai, a youth led platform based in Kajiado that seeks to eradicate retrogressive practices that denies girls their rights. The organization advocates for the end of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages and all its activities are rooted in SDGs 2, 3, 4 and 5. Through efficient mentorship and training, Entito Sidai has helped girls overcome trauma, told them that they are beautiful and helped them fight the culture that still sees young girls as objects to be married off.. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Armed Conflicts, Peace Studies and Sociology from the University of Nairobi.
Despite winning the Founder of the Year Awards (FOYA) 2019 Social Founder of the Year Award under 30, Caroline still believes that her journey in emancipating such vulnerable girls from this retrogressive practices is just beginning and it is everyone’s duty to always protect children in our societies. She will keep fighting for their rights not just in Kenya but beyond and across the globe.
On How She Began
Entito Sidai is a Maasai term that means ‘a beautiful girl’. The organization’s inception was inspired by her encounter with a group of 15 girls who were on a school trip in 2015. They were cladded in their school uniform and majority were heavily pregnant. On inquiring, she learnt that they were enrolled in a rescue center and female circumcision was their first cultural struggle among child marriages that often result to domestic violence which contributed to the unending vicious cycle of poverty as such practices denied them access to education.
In 2017 Caroline decided to do more than just be an observer and that is when Entito Sidai Community-based organization was born with the aim of ending rape, female genital mutilation, child marriages and promoting access to quality education to young girls. Entito Sidai works closely with rescue centers and primary schools in Kajiado County. All their activities are anchored to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2(Zero Hunger), 3(Good health and well-being), 4(Quality education) and 5(Gender Equality). They want to make Kenya a safe haven for all the young girls and children because they believe, one cannot empower the girl child and leave the boy child out of the equation. This is because she believes equality is to strike a balance in justice and fairness regardless of the gender. Their model of empowerment entails mentorship, co-curriculum activities, peace talks, menstrual hygiene management and the nutrition program.
On Her Successes
Since their inception in 2017, they have been able to support over 450 children. They have also built good relations with the children’s office and the community chiefs to facilitate their operations. Entito Sidai was able to roll out a successful feeding program at Kumpa Holy Mothers Primary School in Kajiado where they feed lower primary and Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) class children with a daily cup of porridge. This focuses on eradicating short term hunger and encourage them to stay in school. The mentorship program and using co-curriculum activities such as sports, she says, has boosted the confidence and the talents of the children in schools.
Obtaining the 2019 Social Founder of the Year Awards Under 30 by FOYA for the work Entito does to champion for the girl’s rights as well as getting the ODIC 2019 People’s Choice award, Caroline says, has encouraged the project and volunteers to work intentionally to create a positive impact.
In future, Caroline aims to geographically expand and spread the vision of Entito Sidai in East Africa and to provide scholarships for the needy students. She also aims to fulfill the plans of Entito Sidai’s key strategic programs by 2025.
On Obstacles She Overcame
Cultural lifestyle interference, inadequate finances and manpower are some of the obstacles Caroline Wairimu had to overcome in her journey. Parents would sometimes come at their base, causing chaos wanting to have their children back.
To mitigate these, Entito Sidai works closely with children’s offices and local elders to ensure that due process is followed when rescuing the children. When both parties are ready, they organize for reconciliation between the children and their parents. They also have matrons who support the young mothers and they actively publicize their mandate so as to attract more well-wishers and partners.
Her Words of Advice to the Youth
“In the smallest way possible we can always change the world and make it a better place. Small deeds done are better than big deeds planned.”
Who will be the Next Young Person of the Month?
You can be the next Opportunity Desk Young Person of the Month! All you have to do is get a friend to recommend your work or fill out the nomination form here. We want to use the platform to recognize and celebrate the efforts of amazing young people around the world. Oh! And you must be an active Opportunity Desk member, either as a fan, reader or subscriber!