GBV Survivors Encouraged To Invent Income Generating Activities

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By Isabella Maua

Survivors of gender-based violence, including widows and widowers, have been encouraged to embrace self-love and positive living in addition to finding ways to be financially independent.

This was the agenda during a sensitization session with the Cheptais Survivors Self-Help Group in Cheptais organised by the Kenya Red Cross Bungoma with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Finland and the County of Bungoma.

While addressing the over fifty survivors drawn from different locations of Cheptais, Kimilili Deputy OCPD, Evans Nyakundi, lauded the team for their resilience and determination to live despite the stigma associated with them.

“You all deserve appreciation and encouragement for standing strong amidst numerous challenges internally and externally. Keep associating with positive thinkers who will keep you optimistic despite being lonely and stressed from life’s pressure,” advised Nyakundi.

He also added that their general well-being is nurtured from within, and it is key for them to protect and take care of their body image.

“Eat a balanced diet, do physical exercise, and take time to mediate and get sufficient sleep to keep your body and mind at their optimum,” reiterated Nyakundi.

Ann Ndiema, board member of Red Cross Bungoma County, appreciated the unity among the group members, observing that most of them were victims of post-election violence in 2007.

“No one is ever prepared to become a widow or widower, but when it knocks on our door, we have no choice but to accept ourselves and embrace our fellow victims in unity of purpose,” noted Ndiema.

She, on the other hand, challenged the widows to follow due process in reporting gender-based violence cases and, more so, defilement cases, which are normally compromised by kangaroo and kitchen courts, leaving them voiceless and at times helpless in a community full of stigma.

Reverend Stephen Kimengich of the Reformed Church also gave hope to the survivors, asking them to lean on the word of God for renewed spiritual knowledge and nourishment, which are key in every human being’s life.

Phylis Chebet, a survivor, thanked the Red Cross for their timely visit and for holding such activities across the region.

“We are excited to have gotten great teachings and encouragement from our precious visitors, who’ve also brought us toiletries and personal effects like torches, clothes, and whistles to symbolise our mandate as whistle blowers in our community,” said Chebet.

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