Editors Note: The following is a powerful story written by Sally Wairerah, a Global G.L.O.W. mentor in Kenya.
“Everybody needs someone whom they can trust. Trust is a virtue that not many people have. I started my mentorship journey passionately aware that there is so much to learn. I got so thrilled connecting with my mentees. The journey has been amazing. Giving an ear and letting my mentees feel safe is my everyday work.
I met one amazing young girl. I got attracted to her personality and amazing smile. There was so much pain in her eyes. One day she decided to share her story with me. Ndanu was born and raised in a very remote village. She grew up seeing her dad violent and always angry. In her culture, domestic violence was acceptable and justifiable as punishment to a wife and her children. After her birth, life was so hard. They would go days without food. Her father will beat her mom every day and sometimes even chase them to sleep out in the cold. When she turned ten, Ndanu painfully underwent FGM: a practice that she found too painful, yet she could not escape. This brought so much pain to her. Soon after, her father arranged for marriage. She was to be married off to an old man of around 60 years. How sad! Things took a turn when Ndanu’s mother heard about her arranged marriage. She would have none of that! Her mother decided to escape with her at night. This was a very risky venture. She was willing to risk than to see her daughter married off to an old man.
The escape journey was long and tiring. It took them two days to get to the nearest town center where they would get help. Ndanu’s mum found someone that was willing to listen and help them. Ndanu got rescued from early marriage and taken to school. From the day she found her safe haven, has never gone back home. She has nowhere to go. Her mother is disowned and feeling dejected, but visits her in school sometimes. Ndanu’s father remains angry and hostile
Not all is lost. There is beauty she sees. Ndanu is grateful for the opportunity her mum helped her get. She is safe and pursuing her dreams. Global G.L.O.W. has helped her understand that she is unique and she has the potential to become the great lady she wishes to be. The club strengthens her self-esteem. Ndanu’s dream is to become a mentor someday and influence her society positively.
From a mentor’s perspective, a chance to impact someone’s life is priceless. We cannot take away people’s pain. We can walk with them through their struggle and challenges. We have become change agents. Every day, girls like Ndanu can be empowered to take control of their future.
We all need people to help us becme better. Words of affirmation go a long way. Affirmation reinforces positive self believe and helps one overcome negativity. Global G.L.O.W. programming has created a good safe space for the girls like Ndanu. This is the best thing that happened to us as a community! Girls are given a chance!”