When she was 13 years old, Kakenya Ntaiya made a deal with her father. She promised to get circumcised if he let her continue to go to school.
In the Masai community where Kekenya lived in Kenya, only 11 per cent of girls go to high school. “In the Masais, the boys are brought up to be warriors and the girls are brought up to be mothers,” she said. The rest of the girls are married once they hit puberty – and their marriages are usually preceded by circumcision, which is otherwise known as female genital mutilation.
In this 15-minute video for TED, Keyenya tells the story of being told at the age of five that she was engaged to be married, of asking her community elders to let her travel to the US to continue her education to become a teacher after high school and of starting a girls school in Africa to help girls like her.
Kakenya Ntaiya is an inspiration. And this short speech is better than any episode of My Kitchen Rules or The Block you’ll see on TV tonight.
Do you have time to watch?