Sima women project is a modern Anti-Rape Self-Defense program based in Kitale but we working in slums in Kenya. We are a 10 member team of instructors who travel from slum to slum visiting schools, churches and community groups. We offer our lifesaving Self-Defense skills free of charge to women and children ages 7 and older. It is estimated that 1,240 women and children are sexually assaulted every day in Kenya. It is our goal to prevent these attacks by preparing our students to defend themselves and to infuse their efforts with the unalterable belief that they are worth defending... always.
KOROGOCHO, nicknamed “Koch” by locals is the third largest informal settlement in Nairobi. Roughly the size of 5 football fields, it is a cramped settlement of mud walled, corrugated tin shacks segmented by trash strewn roads and open sewers. There is real hunger here and residents must cope with corrupt local boards, clannism and horrendous crime. Babies as young as 6 months are routinely raped and children are targets for every conceivable sexual torture. Prosecution of sexual predators is almost unheard of. The sad truth is the vast majority of sexual assaults go unreported as victims face brutal retaliatory violence.
On the positive side there is a new generation of internet savvy Kenyan activists bringing a larger global view to this community. Opportunities may be scarce but these young people spend their time volunteering for causes they believe in. While some may dream of one day escaping life in Korogocho this new generation seems determined to stick around and improve it!
Our team - nicknamed “Skybound” is composed of 6 women and 4 men. Our general practice is to go from slum to slum visiting schools, churches, women groups and organized community youth groups to teach Self-Defense. We work 6 days a week, year round and provide 4 different Self-Defense classes.
Teen boys Anti Rape
Teen boys Anti Rape/Life Skills Class; Teen boys - Ages 12 - 21 Class time; 90 minutes Instructors; Male only
Our new class for boys and young men is truly revolutionary! Sima women project uses a no holds barred curriculum which puts urgent yet taboo subjects on the table for full discussion. Nothing is left out! Our 8 Rules for Living traverses modern thought from around the world on topics such as equal rights for women, anti rape measures, condoms, masturbation, pornography, and the attributes of a true "Kenyan Gentleman."
By bringing boys into the anti-rape dialogue our program nurtures the moral and intellectual development of Kenyas future fathers, workers, husbands and voters. We welcome them wholeheartedly into the debate and believe their education and input are profoundly important to the over all health and prosperity of our nation now and in the future.
Rape Survivors Anonymous
The first and only Rape Survivors Anonymous meetings in all of Kenya are held in our office twice weekly. The only requirement for membership is that one be a survivor of rape or attempted rape. We began with 3 women and that number has since risen to over 50 steady attendees. In a culture where rape is perpetuated by the silence and stigma it carries, we believe these meetings provide a basis for sharing that does not exist anywhere else in this society. By revealing to other survivors the story of her attack a woman is more likely to get tested, treated and given support for whatever health situation she may find herself facing.
If you are a survivor of rape or attempted rape please contact us and come to one of our meetings. You do not need to speak. Come in, have some tea as we share our experience, strength and hope.
UPDATE! Third RSA meeting now started weekly in Kibera slum!
Baby Daycare Co-ops
We can’t teach infants to defend themselves so we did the next best thing. We created a safe environment for them. Babies are raped everyday in the slums of Nairobi when women, desperate to earn money through casual day labor are forced to leave their babies in vulnerable situations. When a baby is raped, the stigma is so great that the crime usually goes un-reported and unprosecuted. Thus the rapes continue unabated.
Our Co-ops consists of 30 women split into daily work groups of 6. Each group staffs the day care one day a week and in return, receives 4 days of free child care. The added benefit is the financial empowerment of mothers and their families! Participants in this program have not only found steady employment, 2 have started their own small businesses.
UPDATE! Our 2nd Baby Daycare Co-op is set to open July 2008 in Kibera slum!
Sima is currently accepting Baby Day Care Co-op sponsors. The centers are named in honor of those who support them!
Cost? 95$ per month!
Counseling / Referral / Reference Library
Sima’s provides free, private peer Counseling in a safe supportive environment. Clients may then progress into our Referral service. There they will be connected to a network of trusted legal, medical, familial and spiritual support agencies. RSA meetings may also be recommended at this time. We also offer medical accompaniment to survivors of assault and help access a safe house when necessary. Sima CBO has become known throughout Koch as the people to go to, day or night for help. We can be reached by phone, at the office or, after office hours, at our homes.
Sima provides free community access to our reference library. We carry a wide variety of topics of concern to women. These include health, relationships, spiritual paths, survivor stories, twelve (12) step program and other inspirational materials.
Sex Education & Life Skills
Despite the threat of AIDS, teen pregnancy and a sky high rate of rape and incest, information on sex and reproductive issues is extremely difficult to access for the vast majority of Kenyan girls. Our new 2 hour Sex Ed/Life Skills Class gives girls all the info they need to make healthy, informed choices for themselves. Hour 1 is chock full of detailed reproductive information, beautifully and accurately illustrated. Hour 2 covers covers relationships, boys, menstruation, sex, orgasm, marriage, boundaries, abstinence and much much more. For most girls, this class may be their one and only chance to get the unvarnished truth about their bodies, how they work, and how to keep them healthy and safe.
Two thirds of the annual teacher salary for this class was funded by children, ages 12, 13 and 15!
Handicapped Daycare Co-op
Handicapped and disabled children suffer profound isolation and neglect in the slums of Nairobi and kitale. Hidden away as a source of shame to the family, many aren’t allowed to go outside - ever. This leaves these children extremely vulnerable to sexual predators. On June 30th 2008,Sima opened the doors of our first Handicapped Daycare Co-op. Though modeled after the Baby Daycare Co-op, this center will be managed by experienced handicapped educator Joyce Kiari. She will be training children and caregivers while also organizing visiting instructors to offer specialized courses. Joyce has the passion and drive to create a unified, empowered community which will serve to de-stigmatize the disabled and promote their highest potentials. This program needs your support! See Donate page for more info.
The TELL Campaign
Sima created and promotes the "TELL Campaign" in an effort to introduce clients of all ages to the necessity of telling someone if you are - or have been - abused. Sometimes a client will tell a family member about abuse but is told to keep quiet for the shame of it. Others are bribed with as little as $15 US so that they do not tell or give information about the perpetrator.
The TELL Campaign implores our students to “tell and tell and tell” until someone believes them and effectively intervenes to provide the help that they need. The effect of this campaign is clearly measurable in the rising request for referrals.