Umoja: A Village Where Men Are Banned Travel

A town, Umoja, which sits simply outside the Samburu National Reserve (Kenya), was started 25 years back as an asylum for manhandled young ladies who were escaping constrained marriages.

Initially home to 15 ladies, numbers have since expanded and the town now has its own particular health center and school.

The village is self-supporting where bead making, sold to tourists is the primary source of income, apart from which the women supplement their money by running a campground for tourists on the edge of the town. A local of Umoja village reported that they put something aside for a considerable length of time. For the initial installment, it costed them 200,000 shillings ($2,700). After they applied for the land, men came and beat them by saying that ladies should not own any lands.

They didn’t succeed and today, the town has turned out to be so successful that a sister town named ‘Unity’ has been built near the village. All things considered, a portion of the ladies remain damaged by their past encounters, some who claim they were raped by British fighters positioned in the territory.

Other women who suffered from unfair patriarchal rules took sanctuary here. One especially shocking practice is that of temporary marriage for girl in their teenage who are matched up with very old warriors picked by their fathers.

According to the guardian, most of them were married off to men thrice their own age, including one girl named Mary, now 34, who was  just 16 when she was sold to an 80-year-old man in return for some cows. There are several who escaped their marriages because of domestic abuse.

There are currently 47 women and 200 children in Umoja, which for an all-woman village seem to be a lot pf children. But women there are of the view that they still like men and want to have babies, even if they don’t marry them. The only thing is that those men just aren’t’ allowed to step their foot in the village.

One young woman in Umoja revealed to The Guardian that she has five children, all with different fathers. The lady stated that she knows it is not goof to have children when without getting married, in her culture, but she believes it is worse not to have any at all. “Without children we are nothing,” she said.

Umoja was founded in 1990 by female survivors of rape and sexual violence. The village is protected by wall of thorns which only opens up to other women seeking refuge and tourists who also pay a small fee to enter the village and see how the women live.


Staff Report
Aimen Tofique