Giles Clarke (GB) "I Am A Warrior" - Helphoto 2023



United Kingdom

I Am A Warrior
The Kara Olmurani Shelter in Nairobi, Kenya, is a safe house for 24 young girls aged 14 years and below who have gone through sexual abuse and continue being exposed to revictimization repeatedly again. ‘Kara Olmurani’ means “I am a warrior.” in Swahili.

Once at the shelter, highly-trained female counselors help the girls using different programs and tools that are child-centered and focused on a healing journey. The goal is to empower each little warrior, one soul at a time, with purpose, value, and dignity, in a safe and secure environment toward their reintegration into society.

The World Health Organization estimates that almost one-third of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence, with rates exceptionally high in developing countries.

“People are not willing to talk about the sexual abuse of children,” said the Rev. Terry Gobanga, who founded the Kara Olmurani Foundation. “They’re not willing to confront it,” Gobanga speaks from experience. On the morning of her planned wedding in 2004, she was on the street in Nairobi when several men shoved her into a car, gang-raped her, stabbed her, and threw her from the moving vehicle.

The wedding party gathered at the church without her, unaware of what had happened: When she was supposed to celebrate her marriage, she was fighting for her life in a hospital. Seven months later, she and her fiancé finally married after she had recovered from the brutal attack. In the years since, Rev. Gobanga turned her assault into a life of determined action that began with counseling other sexual assault survivors and soon became frustrated that many of the youngest women & girls who had been abused often had no safe place to go, so she started Kara Olmurani.

The shelter outside Nairobi has now helped hundreds of young girls find the courage to recover from these horrific ordeals and counsel them gently to find a path toward healing.

*The names of those featured in this series have been changed for protection.

Giles Clarke is a British photojournalist focusing on capturing the human face of current and post-conflict global issues. In 2007, Clarke began reporting from Bhopal, India on the ongoing toxic legacy of the Union Carbide gas disaster in 1984. His work for the Bhopal Medical Appeal is an ongoing awareness project similar to his environmentally-led work in Louisiana, Haiti, and the gangland areas within Latin America. In 2016, Clarke traveled with Mr. Ban Ki-moon to over 40 countries documenting the UN Secretary-General’s final year of tenure. In September 2023, his most recent work from Somalia, Without Water, We Die, will be exhibited in a solo show at the 35th edition of Visa Pour L’Image in Perpignan. 

Giles Clarke (GB) "I Am A Warrior" - Helphoto 2023
Giles Clarke (GB) "I Am A Warrior" - Helphoto 2023