World Social Justice Day 2024

January hit me hard this year. It felt like I was wading through an endless sea of challenges. I remember asking myself, 'Why am I going through all of this exhaustion if I'm working for you, God?' Questioning the purpose behind my efforts because January is supposed to symbolize new beginnings, yet I felt drained and disheartened.

As the founder of Rebirth of a Queen, a safe house dedicated to supporting girls aged 10-24 who have endured Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human trafficking, I am intimately involved in the rescue and support process. Working directly on the front lines, I frequently encounter firsthand the horrific experiences these girls have endured.

This year I made the conscious decision to take part in the Inner Peace Program and I found myself apologizing to my 16-year-old self, expressing regret for not speaking up sooner. I couldn't help but wonder if things would have unfolded differently had I found the courage to speak out at that tender age. Yet, in that moment, I made a solemn vow to reassure that younger version of myself and every girl in our care: we are safe now. We have created a sanctuary where we can share our stories without fear or shame.

At the tender age of 16, I endured violence, and by 19, I found myself trapped in the cycle of domestic abuse. For three years, I carried the weight of a false narrative, a deep-seated belief that stemmed from my trauma. But I no longer identify solely as a survivor. Instead, I see myself on a healing journey—a path that offers me not just survival, but the opportunity to thrive.

As I reflected on this journey, I realized that this is the essence of Rebirth of a Queen—a journey of reclaiming our voices, our power, and our inherent worth. It's about embracing our truth unapologetically and rising from the ashes, transforming into the resilient queens we were always meant to be.

"I am Pauline Akinyi, and having participated in the Inner Peace Program by Amani Communities African (ACA) and Women’s Regional Network Kenya(WRN-K), I have chosen to embrace my true identity by sticking to Akinyi. This name fully embodies who I am and the principles I live by: 'I give up what I want so other people can have what they need.'’