Kit Steinkellner
August 16, 2015 12:26 pm

Guardian reporter Julie Bindel recently took a trip to the village of Umoja, Kenya, where she found something truly beautiful- the village is a thriving refuge for its residents, comprised entirely of women and their children.

Umoja was founded in 1990 by 15 women, rape survivors who had experienced horrific sexual violence at the hands of British soldiers. Over the past 15 years, the village has opened its arms to welcome women escaping child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), domestic violence, and rape. Today, there are 47 women and 200 women living in the village of Umoja.

As Bindel reports, the women keep the village afloat by welcoming tourists into their village for a small fee, as well as selling their jewelry to these tourists who are often passing through the area while on safari. It is not common for women to make their own living in the villages of the area, one more thing that sets the forward-thinking, feminist-minded village of Umoja apart from its neighbors. Yet another thing that sets this village apart? Sex education. The women of Umoja have made it one of their missions to visit surrounding villages and educate the women who live around them about issues like early marriage and FGM.

It’s a truly beautiful thing to hear these women talk about living in this haven of sisterhood.

“Every day I wake and smile to myself because I am surrounded by help and support,” one villager, Judia, explained to Bindel.

“Outside, women are being ruled by men so they can’t get any change,” said Seita Lengima, another member of the village. “The women in Umoja have freedom.”

“I don’t want to ever leave this supportive community of women,” yet another village member Mary explained. “We don’t have much, but in Umoja I have everything I need.”

We highly recommend reading the full Guardian story over here. Huge thanks to journalist Julie Bindel for reporting this story and giving us a glimpse at this gorgeous and inspiring village.

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