Emmy is 19 years old and lives with her mother and her baby at Blue Estate. Blue Estate village has been in existence since 2008 where majority of the people came from upcountry and settled there in search of blue collar jobs. It is an area with rampant Gender Based Violence incidences due to inter cohabiting and intermarriages of different cultures. Many young women cohabit with men and they are dependent on their husbands to meet their basic needs making them vulnerable and at risk of GBV and other health risks. They have no source of income, a situation that leaves them at the mercy of the men who take them in as wives.
Emmy’s family is from Murang’a where she was raised by a single mother and grandmother. She dropped out of school at form 3 due to lack of school fees. By relocating to Nairobi, the family hoped to get casual jobs to enable her save to complete her secondary education. This was not to be and Emmy came to realization that life was very difficult and survival was the main thing. In the slums, they would go for days without food and it was becoming challenging to make ends meet especially for young women. The daily routine of looking for casual work from door to door, exposes them to risky situations, and sometimes they would be forced into sex with mearge pay or no pay at all.
Emmy was among the girls enrolled in the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS), program where she has been supported to pick up her life. Emmy recalls the times she was at risk of rape and physical violence which was meted on her and other girls including children, she wishes she could forget it…as she cringes with fear. She says this is a common thing in the slums. It is what resulted in her becoming pregnant, but the responsible person abandoned her. She felt hopeless and like many other young girls, she saw her dreams were shattered.
“Many young girls engage in early sex when they are desperately in need to earn an income and afterwards regret the outcomes.”
When Emmy was enrolled in DREAMS and has since joined a safe space group where she is building her social asset, received psychosocial support which has since boosted her self-esteem, and has found a reason to forgive the father of her child. and reconciled with her mother who they have not been in good terms. She needed a skill on hair dressing which through DREAMS she has been enrolled in hair dressing college to pursue the course she is carrying on with course. Prior to enrollment to hair dressing course, Emmy received financial capabilities training to enable her manage her business and finance once she is through with the Hairdressing course. She sees a future that would enable her fend for herself and her child. She is ever grateful to DREAMS for coming in for her when she needed it most