I have always wondered why young children get defiled by their fathers,their uncles or any other boy or man without mercy.Everytime i see in the news about a child who has been defiled my heart cries and am in so much agony for the child.Though i do not have a child of my own,it kills me to see increasing statistics of rape cases among teenagers and young children.
This year alone in kenya the reported cases reached 6,000 and some went unreported.While the courts are doing their best to mete out the severest sanctions to offenders,families and communities must do more to prevent and end the insecurity being visited on children and women.
While i may not be able to provide security to every child against sexual abuse,i try to provide what i can to reduce these challenges these children are exposed to.
Like everyone else,our children need comfort,need to be clean,healthy and dignified.Raising awareness about undergarments is important.A simple attire it might be but it has never seemed important to many people.
Many children in the slums walk naked with only a t-shirt making it look like it's normal but the truth is that they are at risk of being defiled or at greater risk of contracting deseases.
During my childhood,my mother never wanted us to play outside without wearing skin tights.She also ensured we were playing with girls near our home so she can watch over us.It used to make me uneasy every time i turned around only to see my mothers eyes glued to where we were playing and one day i asked her why she did what she was doing and she took us to hospital and showed us children who were sick in bed after being defiled.
I was so bothered by what i had seen and took a bold step to help the small children.
I asked my mum to help me start my panty project.I hoped to support 20 boys and girls from my neighborhood whose parents could not afford to buy them undergarments.These children would play outside with boys and because no one was watching them,they would be abused by drunkards,idle young men as well as their fathers.
In one instance,as i was coming from church i heard some small children playing in their compound and it seemed there was no old person and so i entered to greet te children and to find out if they would be my first enficiaries,but to my disbelief,i saw one of the girls father drank and was busy peeping at the naked girl while she was not aware.
Her father was asking her to pull her dress up so he can see what God had given her.In her innocense ,the girl did as her father asked but because he was too drank to do anything,the girl was safe at that moment otherwise,she would have been defiled by her own father.
This motivated me to implement my project of creating awareness in church and in my village.My mother bought me a material which i used to make hair bands for sale to purchase more undergarments for my first beneficiaries.She also bought me beads to make necklaces.I gave my mum some to sell to her workmates and friends,my aunt and my grand mother.I took the remaining to the market and managed to sell all of it.
I used to returns to buy dozen undergarments for both boys and girls.When i was distributing,i talked to their prents about my initiative and asked them to help me keep the children safe through watching over them.My project bore fruit when there was reduction of defilement cases in the area and increased vigilance on the safety of kids.
I did not stop there but managed to speak to one of the nearest school to let me know the number of children who came to school without panties and managed to support them through our hairband project with my sister.
My joy is that we have managed to help sensitize the importance of undergarments to small children,teenagers as well as adults.
Consider a boy playing in the field with only a short pant without underwear.If he happens to fal down and the pant tears in the middle,his body will be exposed and he will lose his self esteem same for the girl if she fell down and her dress pulls up,she will be embarrassed.
We cannot underestimate the power of an undergarment and i hope thelp make a public policy one day that will ensure free distribution of undergarments to small children and teenagers in kenya and around the world.
Teaching children about their safety,their health and dignity while empowering them helps them understand the importance of taking responsibility of their lives and they will grow up knowing how to protecting themselves with simple but valuable garments
Lets fight sexual abuse among small children the best way we know.