- Elizabeth Wanjiru Muriuki founded Serene Haven Rescue Center as a safe haven for teens who get pregnant and have no support system
- Her institution is overstretched and sometimes she has to turn away girls who need support
Teen pregnancies is on the rise in Kenya with a lot of students having babies before completing school. The Kenya Health Information Systems recorded 110,821 pregnancies of girls aged between 10-19 in the first five months of 2023.
This means that approximately one in 5 teenagers got pregnant during that period. Most of these girls have to deal with the consequences without the responsibility of those responsible.
Some cannot go to school and lack the support system from the extended family. This is what inspired Elizabeth Wanjiru Muriuki to come up with an organization that supports such girls.
Here is her story as told by WoK,
Speaking to Afrimax in 2022, Elizabeth said she started the rescue center, Serene Haven, after her own experience. She got pregnant at the age of 18 soon after completing high school.
While she had support from those close to her, a majority were not as lucky as her. This inspired her to start a center to help school going girls who get pregnant.
She recalled how a friend in their village got pregnant and decided to get married. While she continued with her studies, her friend went on to have two more kids. Unfortunately her husband kicked her out.
This made her realize it could have been her had she not had the support from those close to her. She decided she would lend a hand to somebody by founding a safe haven for those who find themselves pregnant at a young age.
Serene Haven Rescue Center
The philanthropist says most of the girls are orphans and got pregnant through defilement or rape. After all, a kid cannot consent to sex. When they are raped, most do not talk about it out of fear of not being believed. They only confess when their friends ask them what happened.
The rescue center mostly rescues girls from the age of 16 years and below. They provide them with free education, shelter, food and clothes for the girls and their babies.
The babies are also assisted healthcare wise. While the mother attends classes, someone takes care of their kids. They can then breastfeed after class.
While she would love to take in every girl, she is unable to due to finances. They can only stretch so far. It hurts when she is told of a 14-year-old that was raped on the way to school and is pregnant but she has to say no since they are already financially stretched.
Her dream is for the place to grow and accommodate more girls. She also hopes that they reach a point where by the time a girl leaves, they have a job or a house.
The girls do not stay in the rescue center forever. This means they reach out and find a relative who really wants them, then they hand over. Others still end up neglected afterwards.