Easter Blessings for Kenyan Girls

Kenya rite

16-year-old Caroline Kanana discusses the alternative rite of passage. Photo by Debbie DeVoe/CRS

During the Easter school holidays, 150 adolescent girls in central Kenya will undergo an alternative rite of passage. Instead of heading to a secluded area for their traditional passage into adulthood, they will spend a week living at a local school attending workshops. Community volunteers will teach them about traditional lore, health issues, and important skills, including how to be a good wife and care for children.

These girls’ seclusion will be very different than the usual ritual. While they will learn the critical lessons they need to become women ready to marry, they will avoid being circumcised–a cultural practice still undertaken across much of Kenya and many other countries.

Liz Quirin, editor of The Messenger-the diocesan paper of Belleville, Illinois-recently met with girls who had undergone the alternative seclusion and wrote a powerful story about this CRS-supported project. Watch our own Web site too, as a story from my prior visit will be posted soon.

– Debbie DeVoe, regional information officer for East Africa

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One Response to “Easter Blessings for Kenyan Girls”

  1. Mary Ellen Rivero Says:

    What a wonderful concept to offer an adaptation of the rite which meets the cultural objectives. I hope that the alternative seclusion gains popularity.

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