From Charcoal Selling to Top Student

Rachel, (name changed for confidentiality) at 15 years old, never knew her father and has lost her mother, her grandmother and her foster mother. HOVIC found her selling charcoal and working in a kiosk, selling food. They arranged for her to stay at a partner organisation’s shelter for girls; and helped her complete her primary school.

Rachel lived with her grandmother from when she was very small; and went to school regularly. After her mother died in 2003, her grandmother took her to a step-sister who tried to force her to marry. But Rachel wanted to continue at school and ran back to her grandmother’s. They had no money so she started selling charcoal; and went to work in a kiosk as she was bored at home.

By and by a customer came in and asked her why she was there and not in school. He called HOVIC, so they came to visit and took her to the drop-in centre, where they counselled her; gave her medical treatment; supplied her with sanitary pads; and helped her start back in her last year of primary at a local Lutheran school. When her grandmother died that same year, HOVIC arranged for a neighbour to foster her; but she also died after just a few months. HOVIC then took her to a girls’ night shelter; but continued to support her with medical costs and in school. Rachel is always one of the top students in class and has often been number one. She has just done her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education: her teacher, HOVIC and even she expects to do well. She wants to be a doctor.

“I felt so happy when HOVIC helped me because I knew I could finish school. I just want to work hard and achieve my goal of being a doctor. I would like to trace my father” Now, though, with HOVIC’s help, she would like to find her aunt (her mother’s sister), where her grandmother used to take her to visit. And through her relatives there, she wants to trace her father.

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