Life Bloom Services International
With the slogan, giving women and girls a second chance, Life Bloom Services International sees a world where women, girls and children who have experienced abuse and exploitation transform to become dignified leaders.
I happened to attend a fundraising event organized by Life Bloom last week Friday and I was taken aback first by the number of people who were in attendance. Over 100 people attended the fundraiser majority of them being women including the program beneficiaries and well wishers. Funds were being raised to build a perimeter wall for the WOMEN ONE STOP CENTER in Mirera, Naivasha to keep abused women and children safe. This center is meant to be a safe place for women and children victims of abuse to receive counselling and therapy. The center will also offer vocational training to 80 women/girls annualy.
“Life Bloom imenisaidia sana, sex work haikuwa interesting, ata jamii yetu ilikuwa imenitenga (Life Bloom has really helped me, sex work wasn’t interesting, in fact my family had abandoned me)“, Narrates Wambui, a reformed sex worker turned motivational speaker.
In the wake of the post-election violence that rummaged the country after the 2008 elections, women and children were the most affected when it came to sexual violence. One 32-year-old mother of three in Kibra narrated her ordeal in the hands of armed men tore into the house. They undressed and then took turns sexually assaulting her. A few days later, the woman came to the Gender Violence Recovery Centre in Nairobi Women’s Hospital for help. Her upper arm was swollen, her fingers bruised and her chest was tender. (UNFPA)
The above is just one of the many cases several women experience across the country. The sad part is that most of the victims don’t get the much needed care following the exposure to these forms of sexual violence. Imagine those who get pregnant or contract STIs and have to live with that for the rest of their lives, the trauma that comes with it. Victims are everywhere starting from our homes to our sisters who work from the streets, bars, lodges and brothels just to put food on the table. Victims of sexual abuse suffer in silence and may not report these incidences out of fear, stigma, and shame. Some even fear of being disowned by their families or communities if they speak out.
There are very few support structures to help these victims transform and heal from these abuses. Life Bloom Services International through her Peer Mentor Model, follow the women to their homes and families, to support them in their transition.
Since its inception, Life Bloom Services International has been able to directly benefit 8500 women/girls and a small number of men. Out of these, 1161 women/girls have been trained and certified on various courses while 418 have been trained as peer mentors and 43 as senior mentors. It’s also remarkable to note that most of these beneficiaries have started their own businesses while others have been employed.
Customized Bag from LBSI
The trained and skilled women on the program design and develop income generating products which are sold. The products proceeds are used in the sustainability of the organization for continuity and success. Some of the products include: Bags ( conference bags, laptop bags, shopping bags, clutch bags and tote bags) Art and hand crafts African jewels African table mats, Wall hangings e.t.c I got my customized laptop bag and I love it (Inset).
Following in the footsteps of LBSI, let’s all join hands and work together to empower women and girls towards achieving a strong and dignified future.
We are looking forward to partnering with Life Bloom International Services in training and mentorship for the rehabilited women.
For more information on the how Life Bloom is empowering women and communities at large and how to support them, visit their website www.lifebloomservicesintl.org .