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Swedish aid worker’s Twitter post on Kibera girl angers Kenyans

Swedish aid worker Ms Josefine Elisabeth Johansson. PHOTO | COURTESY
Swedish aid worker Ms Josefine Elisabeth Johansson. PHOTO | COURTESY
Swedish aid worker angers KOT for insinuating that a child she had taken a picture with would later become a prostitute.

A Swedish aid worker angered Kenyan social media users on Tuesday for insinuating that a child she had taken a picture with would have a baby in two years and later become a prostitute.

Ms Josefine Elisabeth Johansson, took a picture in Kibera, with a girl aged about seven years.

She posted the picture on her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, with a farewell message to the girl, who she was hugging.

“You inspire me to be the best person to everyone around me, even my enemies. Because I would never even want this for my worst enemies. The best thing I could ever dream of is to become successful, to have a big family in a big house in a beautiful country. When I asked you what your biggest dream was, you said “to dance,” Ms Johansson said.

BECOME A PROSTITUTE

Kenyans were angered when she projected that the child, who she only addressed as ‘Dear child’, would get married to a poor man in two years’ time, get divorced and probably become a prostitute.

“I am sorry to tell you that there is a very small chance that we are ever going to meet again. In two years you are going to meet a grown up man that you have never met before, you two are going to have a child, and then if you are lucky he’s going to stay with you. But he will probably leave you alone with your child in your small home made of mud and trees. You will probably sell your body to someone else to earn money for your child,” she said.

Internet users took to Twitter to ask the Immigration department and the police to ensure that the aid worker is deported.

They took issue with her for making Kenyans and Africa look very needy and hopeless.

“How does someone predict that a seven-year-old girl will be defiled by a stranger, will be pregnant and will be a prostitute in just two years?” an angry Kenyan asked.

MISINTERPRETED

Upon receiving the criticism, Ms Johansson took to the same platform to say that her post had been misinterpreted by discriminative people.

“This girl, I taught her at a child care centre. This creche is owned by a woman we know and we have for years donated money, food and clothing for her and the children.

“The girl I hug in the picture became my friend in just a few hours, just like several children in the creche. We asked every woman at the creche if we had to take pictures, they said yes, they also said we had to post the pictures but for good purpose,” she said.

She claimed that she had been told by unspecified people that it is most common for children to sell their body to make money.

“That I chose to write that this girl’s life might be so, was stupid of me, I admit it was mean, and disrespectful to the girl. I chose to write that because there’s a possibility that the girl’s life would look like that. But I’m sorry if it violated you,” she said in an apology that was again considered offensive.



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