The below excerpt comes from a letter written by Violet to St. Vincent's Board of Directors. Violent is one of the girls St. Vincent's (thanks to you, our donors) is supporting to attend college. In her humbling letter, Violet thanks St. Vincent's for their support and she has permitted us to share her letter with you. We have left the letter in Violet's words.
I come from a single family of eight where my mum is the bread winner of the family. My dad died long ago that even I can’t remember his face how it looks. Being a single mum [my mom] - to educate those children was very difficult so she distributed others [children] to her sisters who were available. They [my siblings] were made house help where they don’t attend school and this made them not to be interested in school. The three of them, who were older, got married earlier because of this -- because they don’t have any other option so they decided getting married is what can help from the suffering they were getting from my mum's sisters. My mum saw this was not helping so she took us in to live with her. The only business she could do was to transport marijuana from Tanzania to Kenya. She did this her whole life until she was found by the government and she had to serve her sentence in jail.
This was the most difficult moment in my life as I had no dad, no relatives, nothing at all that gave me the hope to live. But one thing I kept on saying and telling my sisters is that we are serving a living God. He will not let us down and that our tears will not go to waste. The place we were living was hell: it was near a pub where you could find beer flowing inside our house. We couldn’t do anything because we didn’t have any option to live in a better place.
When I was in primary school, I kept telling Sharon and Helen [St. Vincent’s Board Members] how I will go to boarding school and how I will go to the university. I didn’t know where the money will come from, but what I knew was that I would fulfill my dream no matter what it would take. Luckily the Lord sent St. Vincent de Paul [Community Development Organization] who came to my rescue. I thank God for that. When my mother was in jail and we stayed alone in that dirty house -- no relatives, no friends, no mother, no dad -- our mother and protector was God. On behalf of my family, I take this opportunity to say we are really grateful for everything you [St. Vincent’s] have done for us. This is where St. Vincent’s took over. They visited us at our place, advised us and gave us food that could last us for a whole week. We were happy then so that we didn’t have to depend on only one meal that was in school.
When I was taken in by St. Vincent’s, I knew I couldn’t be the same again. In terms of education, I could live the life I had longed for which is to have education, this is the best gift someone has ever given to me, but I couldn’t do it without the advices of Aunt Lucy [St. Vincent’s Director], Edwin [St. Vincent’s Administrator], Robert, Henry, Thomas and Helen [St. Vincent’s Board Members], you have shown me how great you are. You have really helped me a lot. You have shown me that life does not end where somebody is raised and that even that little fly has dreams and can really work hard to fulfill them.
The past of someone does not determine the future of somebody. I believe that now and forever. I was almost giving up because I couldn’t bare the pressure anymore, but Edwin once told me that whatever you want in life will not come from a silver platter -- one needs to struggle in order to get it. And a humble person does not get tired until she gets whatever she wants. This means that my life will not end in Kibera. I know I am going places with the little knowledge I have I can help someone who has given up in life and really needs help or encouragement that he or she can’t get it. I can put a smile on somebody.
Given the opportunity, I would really love to give back to the society, to put some smiles on the children’s faces like they put on me. Thank you big time and love you all.
In October 2013, we set out to raise $10,000 to support a new initiative of St. Vincent's: girls' college education. In three short months, with the help of generous donors like you, we surpassed our goal, raising $10,040 to support Maureen, Violet, Angela and Melissa to pursue their dreams of attending college.
With these funds, St. Vincent can cover the girls' tuition and other school fees for an entire year. This is an amazing step for these special girls, who live in a community where less than half make it through high school.
We thought the best way to thank you would be to have the girls do it directly. Maureen is one of the scholarship beneficiaries and also lives at St. Vincent's Rescue Center in Kibera. Maureen is 19 and was born in Kibera, Kenya. She came to St. Vincent's as a student at our nursery school -- a pioneer of the program. In 2002, just as she was finishing the nursery school program at age 7, Maureen’s mother passed away. Maureen went to live with a woman in Nairobi until the age of 13, when she was brought to live at our rescue center. A bright and passionate young woman, Maureen skillfully balances her new role as a college student, with her ongoing household responsibilities, with an impressive sense of vigor and dedication.
Here's what Maureen had to say about her experience:
I am Maureen, a beneficiary of Saint Vincent De Paul. Am currently staying at the Rescue House in Nairobi Kenya. I stay there with 20 more children all of whom are supported by the organization. I started staying there in 2008. Thanks to the support of Saint Vincent I am now in the United States International University in my first year. There Is no permanent donor for the society but thanks to the well wishers and donors I am where I am now.
In the university I am currently taking International Relations. I enjoy my studies a lot there. My favorite class is Spanish class. I plan to take it as my minor. I will be going for my second semester come January. When I complete the three years I would like to be a diplomat to any Spanish speaking country in particular or work with the United Nations in International Community Development in different countries. I really enjoy being in school and I thank God for Saint Vincent and the benefactors and generous donors. I hope I will be able to complete my three years successfully in USIU.
On behalf of Maureen, Violet, Melissa and Angela, we would like to thank you for your support of this unique and importand inititative.
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