Agnes, 14, sitting on a chair in the safe house. She is a victim of FGM.
A traditional Samburu wedding ceremony is performed in Maralal, Kenya. More than 90 percent of the girls in Samburu County undergo FGM at a very young age or right before getting married.
Susan, 14, was forced to undergo female genital mutilation in preparation for her marriage in the 4th grade. She was taken out of school by her grandfather and then forcefully married her off to a man in his 70s. After a traumatic time at the man’s home, she ran away and was taken to Maralal by the local police. There, she met the Samburu Girls Foundation’s Founder Josephine Kulea who brought her to the safe house and restarted her education.
Anita, 13, sits in the corridor of the safe house. As a young girl, she worked as a milk seller and never went to school. When she found out her father had plans to marry her off to an old man, Anita reached out to an aunt for help. Her aunt brought her to the Samburu Girls Foundation where she now resides.
Jane writes a letter with the help of Sylvia, 19, who helps run the safe house.
A young girl twirls in a carefree moment during laundry day at the safe house.
Young FGM and forced marriage survivors pray together at the safe house. Prayer is one of the few things that bring the girls comfort.
Four girls sleep alongside each other at the safe house, which provides only basic living essentials. Three small bedrooms accommodate about 10 girls apiece every night.
A young girl combs her friend’s hair while other girls relax at the safe house. The girls are most vulnerable to FGM and forced marriage during the school holiday breaks.
Naserian’s sandals on the day she arrived at the safe house. While still struggling for supplies, the organisation does its best to provide clothing, food, blankets -- and most of all, safety -- to the girls who need shelter.
Generica, 16 (left), spent her first hours at the safe house in tears. She and Naserian, 15 (right), arrived the same day to warmth and empathy provided by the other residents. The girls’ emotional states regularly fluctuate between joy at their new found protection and sadness due to trauma and separation from their loved ones at such young ages.
Anita and her friend Jane sitting in the front yard of the safe house. When asked why they looked so sad, they said that their dark memories keep coming back to them.
Two young mothers hold their babies in the back of the Samburu Girls Foundation’s truck after the organisation negotiated with village leaders care for them at their safe house. The young women had run away after their babies were threatened with death. Younger girls who have not undergone FGM are often “beaded,” which acts as a temporary engagement, allowing Morans, or warriors, to have sex with her. If the girls get pregnant, the community demands that the child is killed.
A group of young girls rescued by the Samburu Girls Foundation wait at the local police station en route to their safe house. The two youngest girls (right) were escorted by their grandmother, who wanted to protect them from FGM as the ceremony was being prepared for the following day.
Immaculate, 13, sitting on the floor in the safe house. She is a victim of FGM.
Bead girls in Maralal town, Samburu County.
FGM survivors residing at the safe house comfort Naserian, 15, who’d just arrived after running away from her home the night she found out her family had intended she undergo FGM. The facility receives new girls needing protection regularly.
A letter written by Eunice, 13, is shown on the grounds of the facility.