Kisumu GBV survivors bank on table banking
What you need to know:
- For Jane*, Mary* and Eva*, the 2017 election is a painful period to remember.
- During the chaos that ensued following the announcement of the presidential results, men broke into their houses and raped them.
- They were living in different parts of Kisumu.
Hope*, then in her twenties, was going home one evening after attending a funeral when she was accosted by a group of men who took turns to rape her. They abandoned her on the roadside, where a good Samaritan found her and rushed her to the hospital. She says the man who saved her carried her to the hospital because she could not walk. Now in her thirties, she is finding purpose in life.
For Jane*, Mary* and Eva*, the 2017 election is a painful period to remember. During the chaos that ensued following the announcement of the presidential results, men broke into their houses and raped them. They were living in different parts of Kisumu.
Justice delayed, justice denied
Hope, Jane and Mary, in their thirties, and Eva, in her fifties, were distraught and, to date, are disappointed that they did not get justice despite reporting the matter to the police.
They, however, say they received good medical treatment and counselling to help them deal with the trauma. It is in this sharing that they developed ties as survivors.
These four survivors of gender violence and several others met when receiving psychosocial support in Kisumu from the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET), an NGO.
They would receive a stipend for transport reimbursement as they were going for trauma counselling. Many of them saved part of the stipend to start businesses and begin their journey to independence and rebuilding their lives.
They ventured into various businesses and plan to expand them further.
However, the stipends were not sustainable in the long term, and KMET suggested a more sustainable approach of table banking that would help them sustain their businesses. They jumped on the idea and, in 2019, the Manyatta Survivors Group was born with 21 members who are all still group members to date.
With their little savings, the women began table banking to save for their businesses and get loans to expand them.
The women run the table banking group themselves and plan and approve loans for members. With this activity supporting their journeys of independence and financial freedom, they have become more confident and regained the self-esteem they lost following the trauma they endured, according to KMET.
Using their savings, the group of survivors is currently in the process of registering for the youth and women funds. Since they are of various ages – between 20-60 years – they do not all qualify for the same funds. A section of them are in the process of registering for the youth fund, while the older women plan to register for the women fund.
They plan to use these funds to expand their businesses further and help each other grow financially.
Even as they work on their financial well-being, the women long for justice to be served. Most of them did not follow up on their cases because of their responses when they reported the cases, leading them to give up on the system.
Stronger legal and judicial processes
However, they call for stronger legal and judicial processes to get justice for all survivors and victims of violence. The Kisumu survivors hope that the government, and political and other leaders can create an environment that supports efforts towards getting justice for all survivors and victims of violence and create sufficient, safe spaces for survivors, where they can get all-round help – financial, physical and psychosocial support.
Perhaps there’s hope at the end of the tunnel as President Uhuru Kenyatta, in June this year, committed to campaigning against GBV and working towards eliminating GBV in Kenya by 2026. #OrangeTheWorld
*Names changed to protect the privacy and dignity of the survivors.