Umoja: The All-Female Kenyan Village Where Men Are Not Allowed

A photo of three women from Kenya's Samburu tribe.

Samburu women in Kenya.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

In 1990, a Kenyan woman by the name of Rebecca Lolosoli became so fed up with the sexism of her culture that she started an all-female village in Kenya. The village, called Umoja, is a safe haven for women who are victims of rape, domestic violence, and other forms of patriarchal oppression.

Lolosoli, who was born into the Samburu tribe, married at the age of 18. When she learned that British soldiers were raping local women, she started speaking up. However, that put a target on her back, and neighborhood men beat her in an effort to silence her. The beating was so violent that Lolosoli was hospitalized. When her husband refused to stand up for her, she left him and started Umoja along with a few other women.

“As a Samburu woman, you have no rights,” Lolosoli said in an interview with Broadly. “If the husband wants to kill you, he has a right to kill you at any time, because you are like a property.”

The women support themselves by selling hand-made jewelry on the side of the road. However, when the men first found out that the women were thriving on their own, they beat the women and stole their money. Lolosoli believes it’s because the men are threatened by the women’s independence.

But the women don’t let the men’s threats deter them. Using the money they saved up, they started a school for the local children (the school is for both boys and girls).

“We decided to build a school because we have seen that education is very important,” Lolosi stated. “We don’t want our children to be like us; we want them to have a light in their life.”

In recent years, Umoja has attracted widespread attention from around the globe. Lolosi has even met with Hillary Clinton, and referred to the former secretary of state as “a good friend.”

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Trump Criticized for Slow Response to Charlottesville, Quick Response to Barcelona

A photo of U.S. President Trump.

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U.S. President Donald Trump is under fire yet again after critics point out his reluctance to condemn white nationalism and his eagerness to condemn foreign terrorism.

After last week’s deadly Charlottesville attack, it took President Trump two days to denounce neo-Nazism and the KKK. During a press conference, Trump explained that his delayed response was due to waiting on “the facts.”

“I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement,” Trump said. “So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts.”

But opponents of his draw attention to the fact that it didn’t take him long to denounce terrorism in Barcelona. In fact, when it came to Barcelona, it only took President Trump a matter of hours to respond.

“The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Critics have come down hard on the president for how quick he was to rebuke foreign terrorism and how hesitant he was to rebuke domestic white nationalist terrorism. They say it builds a case for how racist he is.

Detractors also take issue with the fact that President Trump blamed “many sides” for the Charlottesville attack, but only blamed “radical Islamic terror” for the Barcelona attack. An article published in The Huffington Post cites several instances in which the president swiftly placed blame on radical Islamic terrorism, including the attacks that took place in Paris, Manchester, and London.

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Readers, I want to know what you think. Was Trump’s slow response to Charlottesville warranted? Or is he just a closeted racist? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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India’s Growing Economy Influences Private Equity Investment Patterns

An outline of India with a stock chart superimposed on it.

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India is definitely the shining light of emerging market economies. The ever-growing GDP and a concurrent rise of the middle class have resulted in increased spending across the board. Indian consumers are bringing a lot of buying power to the markets.

These factors have sparked a major interest in the nation from private equity companies, some of which have even changed their approach to investment there.

Bill E. Ford, President and CEO of General Atlantic, said a couple of years ago that the firm typically purchases a minority stake of 10 to 40 percent of the Indian companies in which they invest. But in its recent acquisition of investor servicing and asset management company Karvy Computershare, the company picked up around a 74 percent stake in the company.

General Atlantic isn’t the only PE firm changing its strategy in India. TPG has merged its India investment team from two arms, TPG Capital and TPG Growth, in order to “adopt a more focused approach to investing in India,” according to LiveMint.

The TPG Growth team looked at deals less than $70 or $75 million, while bigger deals went to the TPG Capital team. Depending on the size of the investment, the money will be drawn from either the Capital or Growth fund.

In 2016, the total PE deal value in India was $16.8 billion, primarily in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) industry, which continues to be a very attractive sector for investors.

“India’s asset management and corporate shareholders’ service sectors are poised for rapid growth and continued development, supported by a number of compelling secular trends,” said Sandeep Naik, Managing Director and Head of India & Asia-Pacific at General Atlantic.

Chief among these is India’s growing entrepreneurial class. “If you think about what is happening in India today, entrepreneurs are building India, and India is giving birth to entrepreneurs,” Naik said.

Add to that the fact that 100 million-plus bank accounts are enabled by mobile phone, and benefits are transferred directly to people’s bank accounts using their mobile phone number and a unique identifier. “It’s a unique platform—there is no other country in the world that has this scale of mobile-driven bank accounts with the ability to transfer money and services directly to the beneficiary without all of the leakages that have plagued the sector for many, many years,” Alok Kshiragar, a senior partner at McKinsey Global Institute, said in one of the company’s podcasts.

New asset classes such as venture debt and distressed assets are emerging in India, too, adding more opportunities for investors to deploy their capital. And TPG is on that ball. Last month, Bloomberg reported that TPG flew 65 of its limited partners to meet policymakers and companies.

“Distressed [assets] opportunities in India are more suited for private equity, as you have to own the entire capital structure and need to make management changes,” Puneet Bhatia, TPG Country Head for India, told Bloomberg last year.

Meanwhile, Naik said that unlike TPG and many other PE firms with a presence in India, General Atlantic is not interested in distressed assets. “We invest in partnerships, in people, we try and identify great people that will treat our money as their money and help scale companies…and we will continue to invest behind growth in India.”

Ultimately, both General Atlantic and TPG seems to be refocusing their investment strategies in India, but each company has a very different approach. Which one comes out ahead remains to be seen.

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Uber Drivers Save Lives

A photo of a car with an Uber sign in the passenger-side window.

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Despite all the bad press Uber has been receiving lately, its drivers are a completely different matter.

Florida Uber driver Chris Farley recently picked up a young male passenger who told him about being diagnosed with brain cancer. Because Farley’s own mother died of the disease, the two were able to discuss it throughout the ride.

Then Farley realized their destination was the middle of the Skyway Bridge, known in Tampa Bay as a common suicide location.

“So I asked him where he was going,” Farley says. “He gave me the weirdest story that was not even close to being believable.”

Though the passenger assured Farley he wasn’t going to commit suicide, Farley called 911 as soon as he let his passenger out. When the police arrived on the scene, the young man jumped off the bridge, but officials were able to pull him out and get him to the hospital for treatment.

“That was definitely my last passenger for the night,” Farley wrote later on his Facebook page.

It’s not the first time an Uber driver has performed an act of heroism. Back in December of last year, Keith Avila of Sacramento, California took on three female passengers, two older women and one younger woman. The older women spent the ride instructing their charge on how to treat “John” at their hotel destination, noting that she should “pat him down for weapons while hugging him” and “get the donation from him” before anything happened.

Suspicions aroused by the chatter, Avila called the police as soon as he dropped off his passengers.

Several minutes later, officers arrived and arrested Destiny Pettway and Maria Westley, who were pimping out the younger woman, a runaway who was sent to temporary housing while her parents were located. Avila caught the scene with the police on camera for a Facebook Live stream, which has since been viewed by more than 119,000 people.

“The worst thing I thought would happen when driving Uber is that I would be getting drunk passengers, and I would have to handle them,” Avila said. “All my life, I thought about people throwing up in the car as the worst scenario.”

A local Uber representative contacted Avila to thank him for his service.

While the company may be under fire, there’s no denying that Uber drivers, at least, are out there doing the right thing.

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Bikers Save 10 People from Highway Explosion

A group of bikers riding down the highway.

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10 motorcyclists—music execs riding to South Dakota via Illinois for a motorcycle rally—came across a huge highway collision last week and heroically saved 10 people before the paramedics had even arrived on scene.

An 18-wheel semi-truck had crashed into a row of cars stopped for construction vehicles on I-24 shortly after noon. The collision caused an eight-car pile-up—and numerous dangerous gas leaks.

“I’m sitting there looking through my rearview mirror,” said biker Frank Wing, who is also Vice President of APA. “Next thing you know—I can’t get that sound out of my head—an 18-wheeler plows into the cars at 70 miles an hour. I don’t know if he was texting or on his phone or fell asleep or what.”

The bikers, two of whom had previously worked as paramedics, called 911 but didn’t wait for assistance before getting to work helping victims out of their cars. Assembling onlookers, they pulled drivers and passengers out of damaged vehicles, including a family of six and an injured trucker and his friends.

When the bikers came across a woman trapped in her car and were unable to get her out, they moved the car to safety on a nearby grassy median…just before a gasoline leak led to an explosion that would have killed her and anyone still stuck inside adjacent vehicles.

“I knew it was going to blow up,” said Marc Oswald, co-founder of the Oswald Entertainment Group. “It smelled like acid and black smoke.

“The fact that nobody died is a miracle,” he added.

As if that weren’t enough, the rescuers heard loud popping noises throughout their exertions, which they later found out were bullets exploding—one of the motorists involved had had extra ammo for a handgun inside his damaged vehicle.

“You hear stories about running toward danger,” Wing told Pollstar. “But that’s why I’m so proud of this group we had. Something kicks in. [Marc and Greg] were cool under pressure, cool under fire, literally. They gave great instructions to all of us that were helping. Unbelieveable.”

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