Twelve years old, in jail, but not alone.

A story about Sylvia and Zainabu.

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Twice a month, FIKISHA makes a visitation to Dagoretti Children’s Remand Centre. This is a detention centre for girls serving jail terms for petty offenses. It’s one of 11 remand centres that we have in Kenya and the 2nd one for girls only.

During our visitations, we conduct activities that provide the children with guidance and social support. Once in a while, we also reach out to local organizations to provide sanitary towels for them.

Last week we had an amazing time with the girls. We sang songs and played games. It was definitely a fun moment at the centre. The fun mood could be felt and seen on everyone’s face, except Zainabu*. Unlike the others, she was seated silently with her hands supporting her head as if she was about to fall asleep.

Sylvia, who is one of our volunteers, noticed her and after the program, they had a short conversation. Zainabu hails from the coastal area of Kenya and speaks Strong Swahili, which differs from the dialect spoken in Nairobi. This definitely differentiates her from the crowd. Whenever she talks, half of the class would be left laughing and half-imitating what she had just said.

She said how she missed home and her friends. When Sylvia asked Zainabu if they had ever visited her, she shook her head and tears started rolling down her cheek.

Sylvia is known to be a very warm person. She proved that again by offering Zainabu a warm hug and promising her that she’ll be her friend and will be visiting frequently.

After a quick check with the administration, we learned that Zainabuhas been in the centre for one month, and is yet to serve two more years away from home. She’s only 12 years old.

– Moses Aboka, Operations Director


Being far from home is always unsettling, but is even more difficult when there’s nothing you can do to get back. For now, Zainabu will remain in the center, but with the FIKISHA Team, she won’t be alone.

This is a beautiful example of a simple act making a big difference in the hearts of a young person. This is why we do what we do. 

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About FIKISHA USA

[fuh-kee-sha]— v. (Swahili) to enable to reach View all posts by FIKISHA USA

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