Lavender lives in Korogocho with her mother and siblings. Korogocho is a slum located in the densely populated Eastland’s area of Nairobi, the fourth largest slum after Kibera and Mathare.
Most of the structures are made of old ‘mabati’ (iron sheets) and other recycled materials. The slum is densely packed with narrow footpaths that also serve as a playground, sewer, and drainage.
Poverty and unemployment are high as many depend on small informal trades. Crime, alcohol, drugs, substance use and abuse, and sex work are prevalent.
Lavender’s parents separated when she was very young because of her father’s drinking.
She completed her secondary education and later joined a vocational institution to pursue a diploma in social work and community development. Due to increasing family demands, she dropped out to wash clothes with her mother for cash.
Through a DREAMS program, she was trained on how to save and use money wisely. She was selected to mentor other young girls to form saving groups to help them reach their short term and long term financial goals.
From her monthly stipend, she pays for her course and will graduate in December 2018.
This profile is taken from the PEPFAR Kenya “Our Lens Sauti Zetu (Our Voices)” photo book — a compilation of images captured by DREAMS girls highlighting their own stories.
The following DREAMS girls were the eyes behind the lens and beautifully captured the stories of the young women featured in the project: Dorcas Akinyi Onyango, Agnes Wanjiru Mugure, Flovian Atieno, Faith Akumu, Francisca Ndinda, Effie Awino, Fatuma Lando, Dorothy Oyuga, Linet Odira, Hellen Atieno.
Text and images from “Our Lens Sauti Zetu (Our Voices)” are used with permission from PEPFAR Kenya. Learn more about Girls with DREAMS.
The World AIDS Day 2021 theme is “End Inequality. End AIDS. End Pandemics.” By ending gender inequality and the silent pandemic of sexual violence against children and adolescents, we can create a safer, AIDS-free future.
Every October 11, we celebrate International Day of the Girl to recognize the achievements, opportunities and challenges impacting girls and young women everywhere.
Girls Health Ed is one organization working in and through schools to address the root causes of gender equality that often lead to violence.
Twenty-five years ago this week, 50,000 people gathered in Beijing for the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women.
This town hall brings together survivors of sexual violence against children — remarkable activists that are helping change the way we think about an issue that, directly or indirectly, affects all of us.
Six ways to celebrate 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
To commemorate International Day of the Girl, Together for Girls co-hosted a high-level event at the Embassy of Canada, “Data to Action: Breaking the Cycle of Violence Against Girls”.
For the second annual World in Your Hands Art Contest, Together for Girls and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls asked female artists ages 12-24 about their influences, how they themselves strive to influence others, and how they use their voice and influence to make the world a better place.
The photo exhibition, “Champions for change”, brings together personal stories showcasing how individual action can lead to a collective and forceful nationwide movement against gender-based violence.
Across Kenya, PEPFAR’s DREAMS partnership is supporting young women to lead safe and healthy lives free from HIV.
"I now live in my own house and my sisters are back at school. Thank you for giving me hope."
“I am now a rice farmer who is independent and can fight for my rights and those of others.”
“I am grateful to be able to afford to buy my medication and earn a living at the same time."
“If it weren’t for DREAMS I would be a drop out or a drug addict."
"DREAMS gave me a new lease of life – I have my confidence back, I’m independent, and can pay my siblings fees and house rent. I can now live AIDS-free.”
"When my dream of becoming a teacher came true, everyone in my community, including my husband, was very proud."
“I was in a place where I could not be seen but I am now visible."
"I now make hair locks, get paid and save, and hope to have a salon of my own. Getting involved with DREAMS gave me hope and skills to become independent.”
“I now practice photography as a career and I get jobs and get paid for it."
"DREAMS has transformed me into a salaried, well-respected, and confident young woman.”
“I was able to sit for my national exams and proceed with my nursing course because of DREAMS support.”