I am extremely grateful and deeply honored to be a recipient of the Live Your Dream Award (LYD) 2015. Ever since I received the news, I have been passing on the organization’s name to friends and people around me; and almost everyone told me how lucky I am. I feel greatly privileged to have the support and assistance from an organization that stands for women and girls’ equality, leadership and international goodwill.
I would like to briefly share my story, I am a survivor of domestic violence; In 2012 I fled a horrible, life threatening situation where I flew back to Canada and resided at the women’s shelter. I met my abuser when I was in high school in Nairobi, Kenya. He was a cab driver at the time; he immigrated to the U.S.A and few years later I came to Canada. Seven good years later, we connected back through mutual friend and he became a regular caller. Being young, naive and in love, I believed every word he said and acted upon his requests. In the year 2010, I got engaged and my abuser insisted we get married right after my graduation and for me to join him in U.S.A – which I agreed. I never questioned or doubted his motives. Now looking back, there were lots of red flags which I had brushed off naively. Because he was so involved in church as a youth leader and aspired to be a pastor, I forbade myself to doubt. I could not imagine someone who claims to be a mentor, a trusted worker in the church, could have a corrupt value system and moral standard. It would be under direct violation of biblical principles; but to my surprise everything was a facade.
Long story short, within just one year into a marriage with a newborn, I sustained multiple bruises and swelling. After being abandoned and locked in an apartment on a verge of eviction with no food or phone , neighbours and good Samaritans came to my rescue to arrange my flight and my escape. I have no words to describe the horrific experience of being trapped and feeling helpless. By the grace of God, I now realize I am one of the few lucky ones to have escaped what could have been a terrible tragedy. Going to the women’s shelter was not easy but it was the first step to a long journey. At the time, my son was seven month old; he even celebrated his first birthday at the shelter. Starting over as a single mom is very hard but the hardest of all is overcoming the psychological and emotional scars: the feelings of worthlessness, fearfulness, dissociation, anxiety and often depression. Although I am in a better state now, I still have my battles periodically.
Once I got settled, I was determined to work on my field and enter the work force until I got hit by a new regulatory change from the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) that was passed the same month that I planned to work. Because of this new regulation, I was required to redo some courses along with practicum experience due to lack of evidence of nursing practice. It was such an unforeseen situation and it gave me, and still gives me, a lot of financial worries as I have been incurring debts after debts. Your assistance will ease my financial burden tremendously as I try to resume my normal life and serve the public with my profession as a registered nurse. Once again, I want to extend my deepest gratitude for giving me and other women around the region the opportunity to seize our potential and transform our lives no matter what challenges we face. Thank you and may God bless you abundantly.