Sarah Akinyi’s Journey of Resilience

In the vibrant marketplace of Homa Bay County, Sarah Akinyi stands confidently behind her fruit stall, however, beneath her warm smile lies a story of immense hardship and untold pain.

Sarah, a devoted mother of four, never anticipated the devastating turn her life would take. One fateful day, as she went to fetch water from a nearby stream, her world crumbled upon her return home. “I came back to the most horrifying news – my husband had raped our daughter,” She recalls, her voice filled with emotion.

Confronting her husband about this inhumane act resulted in a violent physical assault, worsening her trauma. “When I confronted him, he beat me. But I couldn’t stay silent,” she says, her eyes reflecting the pain of betrayal.

The conflict escalated when their extended family, bound by tradition and shame, expected Sarah to remain silent. “They told me to keep quiet, to hide the shame. But how could I? It wasn’t my shame to bear,” she asserts.

Unable to bear the burden of silence and betrayal, Beatrice made the courageous decision to leave. She and her children were cast out, facing ostracism from their community for nearly three agonizing years. “We had to go. For three years, we stayed at Ndhiwa sub-location,” Sarah shares.

During her darkest moments, Sarah’s path crossed with the Codea Community-based Organization (CBO), an institution that would later on illuminate her path. Through their partnership with PS Kenya’s Accelerate project, Sarah received more than just financial aid to start her fruit business. “They gave me money to start my fruit stall and, more importantly, they listened. They understood,” Sarah says gratefully.

This intervention depicted a key component of PS Kenya’s Accelerate project, which aims, among other objectives, to increase access to and utilization of comprehensive, inclusive, and integrated Gender-Based Violence (GBV) response and prevention services.

Over the years of implementation in Homabay, the project has made significant strides, recording substantial progress in attending to numerous GBV cases where health facilities have seen 1,724 GBV survivors providing them with necessary medical care and counselling services since 2021 to date.

Beyond the financial assistance, Sarah underwent vital counseling sessions provided by the CBO. These sessions not only aided her healing process from the deep emotional scars but also empowered her with the resilience to rebuild her shattered life. “The counseling helped me see that I could overcome this, that my life wasn’t over,” she explains.

Today, Sarah Akinyi’s fruit stall not only provides for her family but also symbolizes her unwavering spirit and determination to conquer adversity. As every day passes by, Sarah defies the odds and reshapes her future.

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