‘Granny, don’t kill me’: the 81 year-old training Kenyan women to fend off attackers

Korogocho is one of Nairobi’s most dangerous slums, where rape and robbery are common. Beatrice Nyariara is helping women aged 55 to 90 to fight back

Photographs by Brian Otieno

Beatrice Nyariara, 81, makes her way along the pathways of Korogocho settlement to the Church of the Lord Ministry. It’s a Thursday, and she is not going to a church service or for spiritual nourishment. She is about to to lead a self-defence class.

At the hall, a group of elderly women chat as they rearrange furniture to create space. “It has been a few weeks since we met and it is important to start with warming up,” Beatrice tells them as she demonstrates back stretches, side stretches and touching the floor. Some murmur and joke about how their bodies are struggling to keep up with Beatrice’s.

Members of the Grandmother, Protect Yourself initiative warm up at a church hall in Korogocho Slums before their self-defence training.

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