Faith (center) stands with her family in front of the house where she was raised in Jipe Moyo, a crowded suburb of Nairobi.
Faith trudged through the rainy streets of Jipe Moyo. Her torn sandals filled with mud, and she ducked under a rusted metal awning. She beat her shoe against the crumbling brick wall, spreading flecks of mud across her ill-fitting uniform.
Faith didn't bother to brush the mud from her clothes. What did it matter? She had been sent home from school again because she had no money for the fees her teacher collected every week. She knew her grandmother wouldn't have the money.
She could go to one of her aunties, but they had nothing either, and sometimes they yelled at her in anger, sending her home with her hope extinguished. So Faith continued her slow walk home. Her shoulders slumped, her steps heavy.
She was only 6 years old, but the weight of the world seemed firmly planted on her shoulders. Orphaned the year before, she lived with her grandmother, who already struggled to feed and care for eight of Faith's aunts and cousins.
On that miserable day, Faith never would have believed that within a year her life would look completely different. That she would no longer have to worry about food or school fees. Or that a stranger half a world away would have a profound impact on her life.
How could one little girl mired in so much poverty imagine such a life?
Happiness at Last
When Faith was 7, her grandmother made a decision that would change Faith's life. She registered her granddaughter at the R.G.C. Jipe Moyo Child Development Center (KE-370). The center became Faith's second home.
"The social workers there were like parents to me, and the other children were my brothers and sisters," says Faith. "For the first time in my life, I experienced real happiness. Compassion gave me dignity. It gave me a way to face this tough world that did not care about orphans like me."
Most important, Faith says Compassion gave her a sense of self-worth and determination. While most of her peers were already working full-time jobs, Faith was being tutored in math and attending Bible studies. She had been given a way out of the misery and desperation she witnessed every day as she walked home from school.
She never took for granted this gift, and Faith still fondly remembers her sponsor who made this new life possible.
"I know that my sponsor had to make sacrifices for me," says Faith. "Whenever I felt alone, an orphan, my sponsor always reminded me how much she cared for me and that she was praying for me with love. This inspired me to stand out from my peers."
Touched by Love
With the support of her sponsor and the tutors at the center, Faith excelled in elementary and then high school. Today she is a student in Compassion's Leadership Development Program, majoring in finance at a university in Kenya.
"I am in my fourth and final year at the university," says Faith. "And I am at this place in my life because of Compassion. My sponsor changed my world, spiritually, socially, financially and physically. I am broken by my sponsor's generosity, kindness and love."
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