BENEFITING: VILLAGE COOPERATIVE INC
Every year, Off the Mat (OTM) sponsors an international service project called The Global Seva Challenge that brings awareness, action, and significant funds to aid communities in crisis. This year, OTM & The Village Experience have chosent to focus their selfless service on the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Early Childhood Marriage (ECM), as well as raising awarness around the other violence committed against women all over the world.
Many young girls in Kenya are subjected to the harmful practice known as female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/FGC), in addition to being forced into child marriage. Recent figures from Kenya’s Demographic and Health Survey indicate that more than 40% of women ages 15-19, and over half of women 35+, have been subjected to some form of the practice. Female genital mutilation/cutting is a deeply rooted tradition, not only in Kenya, but in many other countries within Africa.
OTM will be working with The Tasaru Ntomonok Initiave whose primary objectives are to rescue girls from child marriage and other harmful practices, as well as offering & educating groups on alternative rites of passage ceremonies. The Tasaru Ntomonok Initiative has, so far, offered 350 girls an alternative rite of passage to womanhood and currently runs a safe house for 60 young girls attempting to escape FGM. The director and entire board of TNI are local Kenyans. OTM funds will support the construction of a rescue center that will allow 50 young girls that are currently in danger of going through FGM & Early Childhood Marriage (ECM) to be rescued and placed in a safe environment that will ensure their health, education, and protection from abuse and exploitation.
OTM will also be working with Samburu Girls Foundation which strives to rescue girls who are forced into early marriages, circumcision, domestic violence, physical abuse and incest. The OTM funded Sirata Girls Rescue Center will provide a safe and secure environment for girls which enables their empowerment, self-confidence, self-esteem and access to education. The rescue center will have the capacity to host 80 rescued girls at a time and will provide health care, social services, counseling and physical security, and education.
Participants who raise the funds through donation for the community in Kenya, are invited to join OTM co-founders Seane Corn & Suzanne Sterling on a powerful journey where they spend two weeks working directly with the organizations their funds have helped to support in October 2015.