Gender, Sex & Sexuality: KENYA | Escape: Caroline, Escaped from Marriage

Lato Caroline Gilisho, 17, inside her dormroom at the Tasaru Safehouse for Girls December 19 in Narok, Kenya. The Tasaru Safehouse supports board, lodging and education of young Maasai girls from preteens to late teens who seek refuge from female circumcision and early marriage. Caroline arrived at the center at the age of thirteen to escape an arranged marriage. Instead of using the money given to her for groceries and supplies for the ceremony, she used it to pay for her fare to Narok. She is currently in her last year of school and serves as a class prefect. While inherently bright, she is also a hardworker. Caro, as her friends call her, wakes up at around 3:30 in the morning during school holidays to study. Her parents continue to refuse her despite numerous interventions by Tasaru counselors. One counselor recalled Caro saying that after she finishes school and becomes an important leader in the community, she will drive back to her village in her own car to visit her parents. Although rejected by her own family, Caro harbors no ill will towards them. She continues to value her Maasai roots though feels strongly against FGM and early marriage. She hopes to one day go back to her community and serve as a positive influence for a younger generation of girls.
Caroline, Escaped from Marriage, Narok

Lato Caroline Gilisho, 17, inside her dormroom at the Tasaru Safehouse for Girls December 19 in Narok, Kenya. The Tasaru Safehouse supports board, lodging and education of young Maasai girls from preteens to late teens who seek refuge from female circumcision and early marriage. Caroline arrived at the center at the age of thirteen to escape an arranged marriage. Instead of using the money given to her for groceries and supplies for the ceremony, she used it to pay for her fare to Narok. She is currently in her last year of school and serves as a class prefect. While inherently bright, she is also a hardworker. Caro, as her friends call her, wakes up at around 3:30 in the morning during school holidays to study. Her parents continue to refuse her despite numerous interventions by Tasaru counselors. One counselor recalled Caro saying that after she finishes school and becomes an important leader in the community, she will drive back to her village in her own car to visit her parents. Although rejected by her own family, Caro harbors no ill will towards them. She continues to value her Maasai roots though feels strongly against FGM and early marriage. She hopes to one day go back to her community and serve as a positive influence for a younger generation of girls.