Growing up in a small village in the eastern part of the country, life was not easy. I often stayed at home due to lack of school fees, and my father did not believe in educating a girl child so getting an education was a big problem. My mum tried to raise me and provide for my basic needs, teaching me herbal medicine, cookery and domestic skills, but every day I slept hungry and walked around barefoot. I didn't have any comfort in life. It was a hopeless situation.
In the midst of the hustles and bustles of life, at the age of six I was recruited in a Compassion Development Centre. At that age, I would never have known what that place would do for me. My life changed from the second I joined the project. The environment was friendly and the teachers were kind and loving, so different to what I had known before, with strangers often being hostile and rude. There would be enough food and drinks for everyone, something I had never experienced – nobody would go hungry – and we prayed and played with our teachers.
Compassion was the only joy in my life when my mum got married again
She may have fallen in love, but I was forced to stay with a man I didn't know, and to make matters worse, he was a drunkard. He would come home late at night and while my mother slept after a long day at work making little money, I would have to let him in. I was a fragile child, and he would sexually abuse me in the night. I hated him, but I couldn't tell anyone about it. I was scared if someone found out, they would take me away from my mum. I kept it to myself and I let it eat me up from within. For some girls like me who were being abused, they would run away and never be seen again. Project teachers realised I was academically deteriorating and that my self-esteem and self-confidence were lowering despite keeping up in class. They found out what was going on and were able to rescue me from the evil at home.
They took me for counselling and encouraged me to speak out – without them I wouldn't have given my life to Christ or discovered who I truly am. I realised the need for a girls' programme to protect young, innocent girls like I was, with everything I had learnt through them. I decided to create the Smart Girl Mentorship Programme to help young girls speak out about suffering in their lives. Not only that, but I have a full time job running my own company called BK Marketing – a social marketing company which uses marketing models to help others make money. I am at the initial stages of development of this business, which I am running myself. In January I became a full-time self-employed entrepreneur and right now I'm focusing on growing my companies and looking for partnerships. Somehow, in spite of everything against me, at 27 years old, my life is a world away from what I once knew. From the very beginning, my Compassion sponsors assured me of their unconditional love and told me that I matter. I wasn't used to hearing such positive things. Their donations also gave me the opportunity to escape the poverty I was living in. Their letters were always a source of joy and inspiration and I have kept them all as they gave me strength and continue to. Compassion is where my dreams were hatched, by taking a negative situation and turning it into something like the girls' programme I run today. Now I have been empowered through Compassion, I can empower others to break free from life in poverty.