As I walk through Kibera, I glance at the faces of the many women, the children, the young women and the men. All going about their business. A question lingers on my mind; what possible trauma have they gone through? How did they cope. You see, living in urban informal settlements exposes you to so much ills within that community. Talk of rape, murder, theft, poverty, no income, filth from the raw sewage etc.
This is Trauma!
We have all gone through trauma at some point in our lives irrespective of where we are residing. Women and Children are often termed as the most vulnerable in any traumatic situation.
How then do we ensure we survive through whatever sort of trauma we have gone through, whatever we have seen our family and friends go through? How do survive?
I have survived, we have survived, trauma. We have crept out of our trauma situations through one way or another.
Through Freedom Fund, Polycom Development Project has conducted a six-month project on Survivors Leadership. This has brought together several women from Kibera Community who have gone through so much trauma and have survived.
To start off the project the survivors were taken through a six-month session which was held every Tuesday. This was dubbed Survivors Tuesday. They were trained on various topics that enable them handle trauma at a personal level.
The Freedom Fund believed in supporting the leadership of those individuals who have experienced exploitation and oppression. The fund recognizes that initiatives led by those with lived experience play a vital role in meeting the needs of victims and survivors of exploitation in various communities by providing expertise and leadership in tackling the systems and practices that allow modern slavery to persist.
The program has touched over 25 women across the communities but who reside in Kibera. The project’s aim was to see women have a silent space, a place they can interact and talk about their lives and what is troubling them.
We believe at the close out of the sessions, majority of the women are at a better place than when the project started.
We thank Freedom Fund for this initiative that has helped Polycom bring women from urban informal settlements together to find a voice for survival despite the upheaval in the communities.
On May 10, 2022 we held a close out session with some of the survivors in the community. They had an encompassing day that had different aspects such as self-defense session. In this, they were taught how to protect themselves from perpetrators, they had fun danced and enjoyed the day whose theme was ‘Fun and Release’. They closed the day with a session on releasing pent up emotions, a deep discussion on forgiveness arose. It was noted that majority had a hard time forgiving their perpetrators.