In February 2021 a WHOlives expedition visited Kenya. One morning, the group made its way to a remote village to visit Light Uriri school in Migori where WHOlives had previously installed a well.
During that trip, Jake Anderson, a WHOlives ambassador, was told of a rescue center for girls who had been abused, abandoned, or orphaned. The horrific abuses these girls suffered included underaged forced marriages, incest, FGM (female genital mutilation), rape, and the shunning and abandonment of the victims from both family and the communities.
Many of these girls would find their way to the “I Can Fly Rescue Center.” Unfortunately, another form of abuse continued even after arriving at the center. It is often called Sextortion. (The extortion of sex) Because their center had no water, these vulnerable girls had to walk long distances to gather their daily drinking and cooking water. During the dry season the walk would be even further. Upon arriving at the watering hole, sexual perpetrators would lie in wait, not allowing them to gather their water until their “Fee” was paid.
WHOlives made this center their top priority and through generous donations from Rooted Aveda Salon in Utah and a private donor, a thriving clean water well was placed inside the I Can Fly Rescue Center.
In August 2021 a group of WHOlives ambassadors returned to visit the girls at I Can Fly Rescue Center and to see the completed well. It was an amazing experience. The transformation was incredible. Instead of this dark cloud of despair, the WHOlives travelers all described this day as a spiritual experience that left a deep and meaningful impression. The travelers had a wonderful time, laughing, playing games, and interacting with the girls and of course holding and doting over their beautiful babies.
Gladwell, the director of I Can Fly, shared their philosophy of Rescue, Educate, and Empower. Her comments were that by providing a water source at the center, these girls will not be abused anymore while fetching water from long distances. Now they can grow crops and sell excess water to the nearby communities.
Already, a half-acre of land has been cleared and planted with seeds that will be irrigated by the new well.
The Center is also preparing to purchase a sewing machine with the funds they have earned by selling water to the communities. They will be able to start a new business sewing school uniforms. WHOlives is also exploring creating a Days for Girls hub where the girls will sew the pads needed for monthly cycles and will receive a wage for it.
In all, the 76 girls at the I Can Fly Center have found a new level of peace. Each of the girls had a hard story to hear, but not anymore. With clean water at their center, education at their fingertips, and an entrepreneurial spirit for sustainability, we agree their future is bright!