Only women are allowed to live in Umoja. Julie Bindel visits the Kenyan village that began as a refuge for survivors of sexual violence – and discovers its inhabitants are thriving in the single-sex community
The village was founded in 1990 by a group of 15 women who were survivors of rape by local British soldiers. Umoja’s population has now expanded to include any women escaping child marriage, FGM (female genital mutilation), domestic violence and rape – all of which are cultural norms among the Samburu.
In Samburu women are seen as properties and have no rights, therefore if your husband wants to kill you he can do it and no one will complain.
When the village was founded it emanated as a threat to the men and they tried their best to destroy it but it all proved futile.
The women in the village build all their houses, engineering works, carpentry and all other works in the village.
Their main source of income is selling jewelry on the roadside, some of these income was used to build a school for the village which educates kids from other surrounding villages even those with men.
Moreover, women are allowed to have relationships with men outside the village but non-of the men enter the village.