It's 2020, a start of a new decade, am seated here creating my visualization and affirmation for this decade. It’s refreshing to reflect on how far I have come and the critical role played in my journey of becoming by the circle of women in my life both offline and online.
I was in a broken place when I joined World Pulse 4 years ago. I didn’t know how to piece together the broken pieces of my life and was on the verge of depression consumed by loss and grief. Then help came from the most of unlikely place, World Pulse!! My loss was hard to bear but sisterhood embraced me, I was encouraged by other World Pulse sisters to write about the pain and injustice that had happened. The lived experiences of this community of women helped me find myself again while recovering from my painful experience. Through the their own stories I tapped into the courage and hope of this amazing women. They defied harmful traditional practices, patriarchy and toxic masculinity and triumphed. This strengthened and ignited resilience in me.
It is through this community of women that I started reading Brene Browns' books and this quote on authenticity, bravery and vulnerability stuck with me. "Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.” Thus I took the risk, braved uncertainty. This emotional exposure was not equal to weakness, it defined my own strength then and now. I live in my truth and its pure bliss.
During the 2016 World Pulse Kenya Meet up, I met 'minwa' Leah, Smeeta, Gladys, Phionah and 7 other women who shared stories of how they’ve overcome various challenges they faced in their communities as women. I had never before been in a room where women were their own support system, they embraced each other with so much love and care; honestly I was happily surprised. I admired their resolve, bravery, courage and vulnerability in this safe space. With my World Pulse sisters, I felt supported, accepted and lifted thus opened up, and my own healing took off. At this retreat there was hearty laughter, work visits and tears. Few days later I published my own story in my own words on this online platform which was published by Time Magazine; and I won a World Pulse Honorarium for the same.
I stayed on World Pulse encouraging other women from around the globe. I must confess it has been a rewarding, life changing and fulfilling experience to read about you, your work, your culture and lived experiences, so thank you sisters for always sharing your stories.
Fast forward I joined the World Pulse Digital Changemaking Fellowship in 2017 where I built various leadership skills this included adopting technology as an enabler for women economic empowerment and access to justice. I also was paired with mentors and received an Impact Leader Award. This Award was pivotal to the work I had started doing on my community through WETEC Kenya (An organization I founded). WETEC Kenya economically empowers teenage mothers and advocates for reproductive rights of women in rural communities. The Impact Leader award my first seed grant, it enabled us scale our work, gave us visibility resulting to various partnership with both local and international organizations like AJWS, INROADS, TICAH among others. The Impact Leader Award strengthened my resolve in championing for women rights, reproductive justice, and economic empowerment of adolescent girls and young women because gender equality can’t be achieved without funding grassroots organization.
They say a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. The Impact Leader Award was a bird in my hand that I relied on to scale up my Social Enterprise.
So far, through the various partnerships and funding WETEC has empowered and impacted the lives of more than 3500 girls we have conducted a total of 50 sexual and reproductive health right visits to 15 schools , conducted 60 economic empowerment training for young women.
To all the women who have held me, mentored me, encouraged me and invested in me emotionally and financially you have been catalysts for change, sending you all love and light.
SINCEREST GRATITUDE TO JENSINE AND WORLD PULSE FOR PLANTING THE FIRST SEED GRANT THAT HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE IN MY LIFE AND COMMUNITY.
CHEERS TO AN EMPOWERING DECADE!