At 10 years old, I had to supply water to our neighbors in order to earn income.
Our family life was difficult and we could hardly afford basic necessities, sometimes even going without food. At such a young age, it was very hard for me to carry twenty liters of water back and forth, but I had to lead my younger siblings by my example.
My parents had never held any former employment and supplying water did not pay much, so we worked tirelessly to make ends meet. The struggles never caused me to give up on my academic dreams. I kept working hard because I strongly believed that education was the only way to fight poverty. Though my childhood was very miserable and disappointing, I still had great hope for the future.
I had performed well in my primary school exam but had no school fees to enroll in high school. I had to go back a grade, fueled by the belief that by the end of that year God would provide a way for me to join high school. After retaking the exam and performing even better than before, I still had no school fees. In an attempt to cover the fees, my grandmother sold a parcel of land. But after my aunties and uncle each demanded a share from the sale, what remained could only pay for one term at a local high school. It was barely enough.
I later went to stay with a close relative to ease the school commute. I hoped that my situation would improve since the family was well off, but hardship only increased.
I moved from mere struggles of poverty to living in slavery. My life there was full of tears, sorrow, harassment, and pain. I prayed that I would be rescued from that situation—I knew that God would not allow me to suffer beyond my limits.
Because of my good grades, I finally received a scholarship for high school. I felt like a princess; my hope was restored and there was finally a smile on my face. I graduated and qualified to join university, but I thought that my academic journey had ended. I had no financial support, and I came from a society where people were not impressed by my success. I still tried to be optimistic and kept great hope that I would one day join a university. And I did. I borrowed money and survived by asking for support from anyone just to keep me going. I was so strong that my campus friends didn’t believe that I could be struggling. I was referred to FIH who fully supported my future career of becoming a community practitioner. What a life! God never sleeps and has never disappointed me in my journey. My hope was again restored.
A Peaceful Place
FIH has had a great impact on my growth. Through them, I have learned how to process my emotions and see the positive side of every challenge. I have come to the realization that sharing what I am going through helps lessen my pain and grief. I have learned that many people out there are ready to listen.
Through the various leadership programs at FIH, I have become self-aware in my holistic development. Listening to the other stories of scholar’s at FIH has helped me understand that I am not the only one who has had challenges in life. This has been integral in helping me cope with every challenge, teaching me how to be strong and successful. I have always dreamed of being a leader whose main focus is serving people and giving them the best. The organization has really helped me in this journey through opportunities to practice my leadership, provision of school fees, and enabling me to keep building skills and pursue my degree. I will emerge as a strong and bold leader who will advocate for people’s rights and address social injustices..
I have found a peaceful place at school, counseling, and through love from the FIH community. They have helped me embrace the fact that whatever happened while I was growing up cannot kill my dream. I have been able to let go of my past and I am working to make my future bright.
Addressing violence at its root
You can say you have had a successful life once you have put a smile on somebody’s face and restored someone’s hope. We are living in a society full of inequalities, discrimination, and social issues. Helping someone through it all is the greatest success. My biggest dream is to start a community based organization or establish a safe place for women and girls. Working to empower them will be my greatest joy and success. We need to address violence from its root causes. It is key to note that community involvement and ownership of any program greatly contributes to its success. Including and engaging the community members will be my strategy for addressing and ending the cycle of sexual violence.