Freely in Hope is a faith-based nonprofit organization focused on restoring dignity
with survivors of sexual violence through holistic educational opportunities
and platforms for dreams to be fulfilled.
She was out of breath as she flung open the door to her classroom—late as usual. Her legs were dusty and her braids were falling out. There was spinach stuck in her teeth. Determination brought here here—into a college classroom of psychology students at Kenya Polytechnic University. But the determination in her voice was more powerful than the spinach. This young, brilliant woman is an aspiring counselor, a mother, and an advocate. Her name is Eunice and she had a story to be told.
Nikole Lim is a speaker, educator, and consultant on leveraging dignity through the restorative art of storytelling. Nikole shifts paradigms on how stories are told by platforming voices of the oppressed—sharing stories of beauty arising out of seemingly broken situations. Her heart beats for young women whose voices are silenced by oppression and desires to see every person realize the transformative power of their own story. As our Cofounder and International Director, Nikole has been deeply transformed by the powerful, tenacious, and awe-inspiring examples of survivors. Their audacious dreams have informed her philosophy for a survivor-led approach to community transformation.
Nikole graduated with a degree in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University and is currently pursuing a masters in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary. She is a native of the Bay Area and can often be found buying African fabric on the streets of Nairobi. Her vision is to equip survivors and advocates to lead in ending the cycle of sexual violence—believing that they will be the ones to bring us all into liberation. In it, her hope is that the world may be transformed by them—just as she has.
An intuitive counselor and empathetic storyteller, Nuna equips Freely in Hope scholars to grow in independence, leadership, and healing through her gift of counseling. As our Social Worker and Counselor, Nuna provides holistic support for survivors to ensure that they are growing academically, spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally. As a survivor of sexual violence, Nuna once felt that she was hopeless, worthless, and dirty. But as Freely in Hope’s first scholar, she began to form this community that holistically equips survivors to thrive. Nuna began to regain her dignity—she now stands as an example of dignity restored for other women who have similarly experienced abuse.
Nuna has a bachelors degree in Counseling Psychology from Africa Nazarene University, is a member of the Kenya Counseling Association, and has experience working with HIV+ women and children affected by substance abuse. Nuna is a mother to a handsome son. She loves meeting new friends, making people laugh, and creating safe spaces of peace.
Lydia is passionate about building platforms for survivors and advocates to be leaders in their communities. As a Freely in Hope Fellow and Outreach Worker, she coordinates leadership programs and outreach activities at partnering schools, churches, and local communities in urban slums and rural villages. Lydia has four years of vast experience in program design, implementation, and community outreach. Her reach has extended from Kibera, East Africa’s largest slum, to Samburu, a rural desert region that still practices female genital mutilation. Lydia is passionate about mentoring young people—especially those affected by sexual violence. She equips survivors to unlock their potential into their calling.
Lydia is currently pursuing her bachelors degree in Gender and Development Studies at a university in Nairobi. She serves as a board member of Garden of Hope Foundation, a local nonprofit that builds sustainable communities through leadership development and youth empowerment in marginalized communities in Kenya. She loves music—creating it, singing it, and dancing to it. Nothing can stop her.
Maryclare desires to see survivors rise up in freedom—allowing their voices of hope and dignity to be heard. As our Program Designer and Storyteller, Maryclare creates programs that give platforms for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories with dignity. As a survivor, dynamic speaker, and confident leader, her passion is to see a world where the stories of sexual violence will be but history. As one of Freely in Hope’s first scholars, she is a pioneer of transformative storytelling. She believes that the more survivors share their transformative stories from trauma to hope, the more they are able to experience a deeper healing that will heal the world.
Maryclare has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Daystar University in Nairobi. As a student, she was the secretary of a community-based organization that worked with children affected by HIV in Dagoretti, a slum in Nairobi. She likes trying new foods, laughing and dancing with her nieces, and riding motorbikes deep into slums to rescue women in prostitution.
Chris has spent his life bearing witness to the possibility of hope in a world that has legitimate reasons to question God’s goodness. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Chris studied at Asbury University in Kentucky before moving to India where he was mentored by Mother Teresa for three years. While living in India, he helped launch South Asia’s first pediatric AIDS care home–creating a safe haven for children impacted by the global pandemic. A forerunner in the New Friar movement, Chris and his wife Phileena served with the Word Made Flesh community for nearly 20 years, working for women and children victimized by human traffickers in the commercial sex industry. His vocation has taken him to over 70 countries working among the most vulnerable of the world’s poor. In 2012 Phileena and Chris launched Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism.
Jessica’s passion is to help women struggling with trauma and poverty to know their inherent worth and to have hope for their futures. Jessica graduated from UCLA in 2008 with a degree in International Development Studies. Her experience includes staff work with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, non-profit consulting for domestic and international organizations, and directing a transitional shelter for homeless, pregnant women in Los Angeles. She is a strategic leader, a storyteller, and an advocate for cross-cultural reconciliation. Jessica is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Nonprofit Management from NYU Wagner. She loves Vietnamese food, her husband, and a good cup of tea
Eric brings a broad background in consulting, startup, real estate, nonprofit and ministry. After starting his career at a large consulting firm, Eric has increasingly pursued opportunities to serve people through closer relationships and make an impact on the world, most recently serving in a full-time ministry position with his church.
Eric’s education is in Economics, Sociology and Business. He lives in San Mateo, CA with his wife Jennifer and their four little princesses: Jordan, Chloe, Riley and Emma. Eric and Jennifer engage with and support missions and nonprofits that also primarily invest in the lives of individuals not the masses.
Rev. Sonji (affectionately called Rev. Short) has a heart for the broken, marginalized and underserved of the world. She is a licensed and ordained minister of the Gospel; has over 20 years of experience in HIV/AIDS education and prevention; and extensive anthropologic and cross-cultural sensitivity training. Her availability and obedience to God in serving His “daughters” has taken her beyond the USA to several continents such as Asia, Africa and South America. It is her greatest joy to walk with young women on a journey of hope, healing and restoration towards a life of dignity, purpose, value and wholeness. She has served as a Cross Cultural Worker in Kenya for over 10 years.
Marion is a Professional Therapist with experience in offering trauma and supportive therapy to sexually, physically and domestic assaulted survivors and their caregivers. She has worked in settings such as hospitals and prisons. She is passionate and proactive in ensuring the welfare of children and adults is holistically supported—regardless of their gender, creed, or race. She facilitates training in different settings advocating for equal rights and is actively involved in creating gender-based violence awareness through media campaigns and community sensitization.Marion believes that we are born into this world for the sake of extending God’s love and a helping hand to those who are vulnerable in our communities. She comes from years of experience at Gender Violence Recovery Centre of the Nairobi Women’s Hospital. She is pursuing her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy majoring in Child and Adolescent and Parenting Education.
We work together with incredible organizations to end sexual violence