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Nikole Lim ’10 Helps Community in Nairobi to Live “Freely in Hope”

Nikole LimLoyola Marymount University alumna Nikole Lim '10 knows about storytelling. For her senior thesis, the film production major created a 30-minute documentary, “While Women Weep,” which told the stories of four women in the Salvation Army in Nairobi, Kenya, who overcame harsh life challenges. But Lim didn’t stop there. She is now starting a nonprofit organization, named Freely in Hope, which will provide services, education and opportunity for women and children in Nairobi.

“I was so encouraged by the lives of these women and how they overcame great obstacles and persevered,” Lim said. “I wanted the film and the organization to transfer that hope, dignity and strength so that everyone can live freely in hope.”

Lim said she knew it was her duty to document what was happening in Nairobi after hearing about the struggles that women face daily, including violence, rape and abandonment. Lim was encouraged that these women, despite their painful pasts, survived and were now influencing and motivating other women.

“Most people think that the Third World is an ugly place with horrible things going on. There are so many bad stigmas that need to be broken,” Lim said. “But there are so many beautiful stories as well. I wanted to tell the stories of hope, of strength and about the beauty of women.”

Freely in Hope will support and operate several services including: an orphanage for children whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS; a rehabilitation center for prostitutes that will train Freely in Hopethem to develop self-sustaining businesses; and health care services and education for women who are pregnant, victims of rape or are living in extreme poverty. Lim currently serves as executive director and runs the organization from Los Angeles. She credits her LMU education with giving her the passion to pursue her ambitions.

“LMU, as a whole, reinforced my goals in developing this nonprofit,” Lim said. “I learned how to help others throughout my college career and that has really pushed me forward in all my endeavors.”

Lim also made a two-minute version of her documentary and submitted it in the fifth annual Film Your Issue, an international contest that engages global young adults 14 to 24 in pressing social issues. Lim's film won the Jury Award. Her short, “Ca Mau, Vietnam: The 600 Lepers,” was a semifinalist in 2008.

For more information, please visit www.freelyinhope.org where you can purchase the DVD, a memory book or jewelry, and receive regular updates about the organization’s progress.

Photos: (above) Nikole Lim is presented with an award at the Film Your Issue international competition.
(below right) An image from the documentary

Posted July 26, 2010