Life Bloom Services International-LBSI.

Life Bloom Services International supports vulnerable women, girls and children (and a small component of males) in their journeys towards re discovering their lives' dreams, and empowers them to be able to journey towards turning their dreams into reality
Jul 22, 2013

Surviving Seven Years of Abuse

Surviving Seven Years of Abuse and Violation of Rights: Young mother now begins her journey to wholeness

Mary Wanjiru lost her mother at three years of age. Her father stopped working and relocated to a piece of land on the lower zone of Lake Naivasha, hoping to farm and raise his children. He supported their education through primary school. Mary completed class 8 when she was 17; she then married a young man.  Mary conceived immediately and she started a green grocer business. The husband had a motor bike and supported his young family with proceeds from ferrying passengers on the bike. Realizing that Mary was able to get a profit from her small business, he abandoned his responsibilities. Mary was able to buy what she needed for the coming of the new born. After delivery she continued with her business, but by this time her husband had become an alcoholic and beat Mary up almost every evening. She would seek refuge at her father’s home, but her husband would conspire with Mary’s father, pay a little “fine”, and Mary would be made to go back. Before a year was over she conceived again, but the abuse did not stop. She gave birth to a baby with disabilities.

This was the beginning of bigger problems. Mary’s husband beat her up more often and told her that his family line didn’t have the history of genes for children with disability, so she should look for “the father” of the child and take the child back.  Mary would be beaten and would seek refuge this time with her mother-in-law, who only told her that she agreed with her son on the baby’s paternity. Mary pray that her husband would change. All this time, she didn’t report any incidences to the authorities or seek help because she didn’t think it was necessary. As with many people in abusive relationships, she believed that that was the kind of treatment she deserved and it was her fault that she brought forth a child with a disability.

Her husband came home one afternoon from having demolished Mary’s green grocer business, stating that men were seducing his wife and she was entertaining them. That was the beginning of a new chapter in Mary’s life. Without the business she worked so hard for, she could not get any money to buy food for her children or to take her child with disabilities for therapeutic sessions at the hospital. Mary’s husband would often return home drunk very late at night; if she asked for money to buy food, she would be beaten and kicked out of the house with her baby. This cycle continued and Mary’s father continued to be seduced by Mary’s husband, as he would “pay a fine” and promise to change. This cycle became a way of life for Mary.

A distant neighbor who is a beneficiary of Life Bloom’s interventions learned about Mary’s ordeal. She dared and gave Mary’s husband and her father (who worked together as proprietors) a brief lecture on the rights that they denied to Mary and her children. She called Life Bloom and paid up Mary’s bus fare (and hers too, totaling about $5), to bring her to the office.  Mary has been receiving counseling and the matter was reported to the police. Her husband was arrested, aligned in court and released on bail.  Afterwards the matter was reported to the children department and the husband was summoned and was instructed to pay school fees for the elder child, (6 years old), medical fees for the second born, and Kenya Shillings 3000 per month for the up keep of the children. (One reason he was released on bond was to be able to earn and provide for the children).

Mary is now living at her father’s house and has reopened a green grocer business, while continuing to receive counseling and support from LBSI. As she picks up the pieces of her life, Mary wants to be trained in entrepreneurship and leadership skills and hopes to be a better mother to her two girls. Life Bloom has already embraced Mary and her children as new members of the already 4500 plus family.

Life Bloom’s main reason for existence is to support Mary and other women (and men) like her regain their dignity and provide an opportunity for a second chance in life.

This report has been compiled by Wanjiru, Trizah, Fiona and Catherine    (LBSI Staff)

Asanteni sana (thank you very much) for supporting Life Bloom to be able to support the women and community at large.

Blessings.

Catherine and the big family.

Links:

Apr 22, 2013

Life Bloom continues to blossom

Over the last four months, under the direction of the Executive Director and founder, Catherine Wanjohi, Life Bloom has taken up tasks at a higher level, becoming active members of the Naivasha Sub County and Nakuru County committees in the areas where Life Blooms interventions are strong and recognized by the community and the government. 

Through these forums, Life Bloom is now engaged at advocacy level to influence policy implementation and/or change through the government and other partner's platforms. This direct engagement is creating more platforms for the sex workers and other abused women’s and children’s voices to have a collective impact. In this way, visibility of the organization and Wanjohi’s works are also increasing, and community and stakeholders’ participation is increasing.

Key among the leading committees and networks are:

  • Area Advisory Committee for children in the sub-county.
  • Advisory committee at the Probation Department committee
  • Children in schools committee for counseling
  • Girls committee and mentoring programs in Nakuru county

Life Bloom is involved in the following networks/committees:

  • Gender Based Networking group in Naivasha where we are in the executive committee
  • Human trafficking in persons in Naivasha
  • Peace networking group in Nakuru county 

Through the schools, the girls are empowered with peer mentor support skills. LBSI is the co-coordinator and in the executive committee of the Gender-based networking group in Naivasha. In the Area Advisory Committee and Probation department, LBSI offers counseling and helps in the re-integration of the survivors back to the family and society and follows-up in the progress either through the prison or community groups. 

Through this, some women beneficiaries of LBSI are finding space where they are able to not only share about their transformation, yet also share their thoughts about what they believe works best for other women 's transformation as opposed to the board room created projects by some government departments and other partners. Members of the community with the most knowledge of the issues are participating in designing the steps for more positive outcomes. Fiona, one of Life Bloom’s beneficiaries and currently a member of staff, is the coordinator on issues of child abuse and assists in arranging for their safe custody in safe shelters and for counseling and legal action.

We lacked quite a lot in the past in this kind of participation and visibility. We believe that this network building is one of the most profound developments in the last couple of months, and this will of course see Life Bloom rise to a level where we can be seen as qualifying for support from the funding organizations and maybe the government as well as we move on. 

Links:

Dec 21, 2012

Happy Holidays from Life Bloom

LBSI photo collage
LBSI photo collage

Happy Holidays from Life Bloom Services International!

We invite you to view a video of Life Bloom's impact on Fiona Wanjiru, who you've read about in other project updates, and a message from Catherine Wanjohi on CitizenTV.

Read an inspiring story about Lucy Wambui, a beneficiary of Life Bloom and current Peer Counselor for Life Bloom.

We also invite you to view our holiday message hosted on Constant Contact.

In this season and in all the days throughout the year, we are grateful for your involvement with Life Bloom and count you among our family.

Warmest wishes to you this year, the next, and all to come.

Love, hope, and light,
Life Bloom Services International

"What Life Bloom's done...is nothing short of incredible!"
-Margo McAulie of Kenya Help (California)

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