Celebrating 5 Years in Nairobi!
On October 17, we celebrated five incredible years of restoring dignity with survivors of sexual violence in Nairobi—our scholars shared stories of their past full of pain that has now been redeemed through their audacious dreams of ending sexual violence through education, empowerment, and bold leadership. Their challenge to us was inspiring—to partner with them toward a community, a nation, a world, free of rape, violence, and stigmatization.
There is so much more we can do together to achieve these dreams that are full of life, light, and hope.
Freely in Hope began with a toothbrush and a $200 scholarship. Birthed by the power of a single story—the story of Emma*, a young survivor of rape, mother to a son, counselor for the abused, and advocate for life. Freely in Hope’s launch last Saturday celebrated the stories that have made our organization into what it is today—equipping survivors and advocates to lead in ending the cycle of sexual violence. Now, five years later, Emma’s growth, healing, and success has transcended into her community. In one week she will be graduating with her bachelors degree in Counseling Psychology from a prominent university in Nairobi. As a toothbrush and scholarship was gifted to her, she now hopes to provide toothbrushes and scholarships to the broken, who like her, are chasing after dreams beyond themselves.
There was not a dry eye in the audience as Emma shared her story—recounting the pain she’s been forced to endure but emphasizing the hope that she has now found.
Our audience was able to ask our scholars questions about how they could support them in the fight against sexual violence—our scholars challenged us with their responses. They asked us to fund their education to help achieve their dreams of arising above trauma and bringing their community out of sexual violence. They asked us to equip them to liberate others—to break the cycle of violence among generations, to bring young women in prostitution out of brothels, and to heal men, women and children from trauma. They asked us to work alongside of them by eliminating the stigma of sexual violence nation-wide, to promote equal access to education for girls who are impregnated in high school, and to provide more opportunities to share their stories and offer hope to survivors across the globe. They asked us to remember that no matter what they’ve gone through, they can and they will achieve their dreams.
While physical wounds are visible, the wounds of the heart aren’t as obvious—until the wounded one musters up enough courage to shed light on the darkness consuming the soul, this is where healing can begin. At our Freely in Hope launch and International Day of the Girl Summit, truth was exposed in ways that brought liberation and redemption. Stories were told that united wounded hearts. Fear was dispelled by reclaiming power from those who only oppress.
With the new life that was exemplified through stories, conversations, and in song, there was much to celebrate—there is reason to have hope.