A series of pictures depicting the lives of young Kenyan girls who escaped female genital mutilation (FGM) and early childhood marriage titled The Right to Play won first place at the Sony World Photography Awards on April 14, 2023.
The creative section of the award was won by the photos of the girls taken by South African photographer Lee-Ann Olwage.
Olwage's The Right to Play creates a playful world where girls are shown in an empowered and affirming way.
"For this project, I worked with girls from Kakenya's Dream in Enoosaen, Kenya, who have avoided FGM (Female genital mutilation) and child marriage - showing what the world can look like when girls are given the opportunity to continue learning in an environment that supports them and their dreams," Olwage noted.
The girls' school serves as a rescue centre for minors who escaped troubles at home, such as FGM and early pregnancy.
Kakenya’s Dream owns two boarding schools that serve hundreds of girls in rural Kenya.
It was founded in 2008 by Dr Kakenya Ntaiya to empower girls in Kilgoris through education.
On March 8, 2023, Michelle Obama, Melinda Gates, and Amal Clooney wrote an article in Time Magazine, a US-based publication, lauding Dr Kakenya and her team for their social impact.
The Sony World Photography Awards is a 15-year-old annual event that showcases the best photographs each year.
Among other Kenyans who have put the country on the world map with social impact projects include Elijah Nyaanga.
On April 11, the Kenyan journalist was crowned the winner of the Forty Under 40 Africa journalism award for founding Scholar Media Africa.
“It has come home! Emerging as the best in the entire continent from the midst of thousands is not a joke. I thank my friends who believed in and supported me all through," noted Nyaanga.