International Day of an African Child- Stories that Inspire

17 June 2021

My name is Nekesa (not my real name). I was born in the year 2006 in the loving country of Kenya. From what I hear, my mom was middle aged when I was born. So jovial was she that we lived a life that people lived to emulate. Her hard work, determination, and resilience saw us eat well, drink well, have good health, and be contented. It never lasted long, as she passed away.
I have never known what caused my mother’s tragic death, since no one was ever willing to tell me. Life began to change and despite being young, 6years old, I noted the change in terms of how I was taken care of before and after her death. After her burial, a relative volunteered to take care of us. My siblings and I all went to her house to be cared for. At the home we were provided with everything i.e. basic needs. However, we lacked the maternal love of a parent, since the home already had other children who were more considered than us. Life wasn’t always well for our guardian and sometimes she lacked food to give us.
One day she shared the idea that she could take us to a nearby children’s home that could help us in terms of basic needs and education. It didn’t take long and she implemented the idea and took us to a local children’s home. From the first day in the home, I wasn’t happy at all. In the home, we were almost 50 children. No one was there to solely consider each child. We were all treated equally and no one got special attention.

Playing with a wheelbarrow

It is in this home that I joined primary school and here another journey began. I lived in the home for almost 5 years. I was now a big girl. I could do my chores, do my work, and also know what was wrong and what was right.
Hardly had I begun to be contented with the home, when chaos began. There were fights between the management of the home, even physical fights between the directors. It was from these fights that one of the directors was killed and that’s how the home had to be closed down.
Imagine, children who were in primary and secondary school and some in college? Who would come rescue them? We had lots of questions on where we would end up. After a few days of being at crossroads, we were taken to a children’s remand centre. Life there was terrible. We would wake up early in the morning to do manual work. I would go to the garden, wash other people’s clothes, cook, split firewood, and do other hard labour.
If I was allowed to name this, I would strongly call it child labour. In the remand centre we never had freedom. We woke up at 6am and by 5pm in the evening we were in our beds. I prayed for God to one day send an angel who could rescue us from this life. I even began feeling as if God was not on my side. Why me? Why this life? Were we born to ever live in these kind of challenges? I had lot of questions which never received answers.
One day as I was working together with my brother, we saw a familiar person heading to the administration. It was a very distantly related auntie. We felt she had come to take us home with her. Our suspicions turned out to be true. We were called in a few minutes later and informed that we would leaving the facility. One cannot imagine the happiness we felt once we left the gates of that place.We thanked God and knew that the life in the remands would now be memories to recall. As we headed home, we narrated the life at the remand to our auntie. After we arrived at her house, she informed us that there was a Children’s Home that she would take us to. We didn’t have any other options, so we had to go to the home. This was the beginning of the change in my life.
We were taken to Alpha Joy Care Children’s Home. My first day in the home, I felt the feeling of love when we met the lovely staff and the children. I was taken to school and joined class 6. In school, I did my best so that one day I would stand up and give my story to the less privileged. At the home I ate well, was taken care of, and also had the love of other children. It is from this home that I learnt to be appreciative of everything I have in my life. I have been in this home for three years now and last year, 2020, I was among the children who were sitting for the KCPE. Due to my hard work, prayers, and commitment to my studies, I managed to score 417 marks. I was the top student in my school and also in the whole sub county. I recently received a calling letter to join Pangani Girls High School, a national school.
I am sharing my story to encourage others who have been living in such a life. Just believe God works in miracles and that after the struggles, you will emerge a victor. In terms of challenges and difficulties, just be prayerful and have the strength and courage to face the unknown. Now that I will be joining a good school, my aim is to study well and excel  at the end of 4 years, join a good university, and pursue a medicine course to help others in society. Thank you Alpha Joy and also to Lift the Children for the support you have given me. As we celebrate The Day of an African Child – I wish you a blessed day full of Strength and Courage.
Yours Nekesa
Read more about Alpha Joy on this link