This is a story of hope, a story of resilience and a story of faith. My story goes along way to prove that no matter who you are, your dreams are valid and if you hold onto your glimmer of hope, it will burst into flames one day.
I was a fourteen year old kenyan girl with big dreams, dreams of a better and more fulfilling future. A future where I won’t be able to worry about my next meal or a roof over my head the next night . All my life I had heard time and over again that education was the only way out of poverty, my dad had always told me that the only place to get margarine is from the pages of a book (margarine was VERY luxurious, it only existed on the shelves of stores and radio advertisements, once in a while I will come across it while rummaging through the town dump site for toys and valuable).
I wanted a better life so I worked very hard and passed my primary school exams, I was offered admission into three girls high school but my father could not afford. He had sons before me who had more value than a little girl with “far-fetched” dreams.
I begged to go to school while they were forced to, endless nights I cried myself to sleep wishing I could just get a chance to atleast step in high school but My fate had been sealed, That’s all my society which was clamped in outdated cultures and tradition that undermined girls could offer. I was fated to end up as a child bride.
Books provided me with an escape even just for an hour from the misery and prison of my life. I got to live hundreds of lives, be all I had or could have ever dreamt of even just for a few hours everyday. Through books, I learnt there was a better world out there where women could be more, a world where women could speak and not be silenced by a violent blow I cherished those lives and at night when I crawled onto my corner in the kitchen, I would go back there and relive every moment of the stories I had read earlier during the day. Books kept my hope and dreams alive. I knew I could be more in my dreams the end of the day.
One day I was at a local library and reading a book which had been donated to our library through African literacy foundation. I took the address of the author then saved up ninety five shillings (close to $1) for six months to be able to afford postage stamps. I had written him my plight and asked for a hand in my schooling. I had no idea that the author had died ten years ago and that the family had moved from their home in Switzerland to Austria. After two months I received a letter from his son with the Best news of my life, luckily the letter had ended up in the right arms. since then he has supported me throughout high school to university, I was the first person in my entire family line to ever graduate with a degree. He changed the life of an entire generation. He changed my story from one of doom to one filled with hope. He ignited hope in the girls in my family and the whole village. Through him, other families in my village have noticed what a girl can accomplish and the help I am able to extend my family and they are now sending their girls to school.
For this reason I decided to part of the change and do the little I can to touch a girls’ life and give them a chance to dream, dare them to think big. 10% of every sale goes into buying a novel or story book for a girl. To give them a purpose and let them know there is a bigger, better world out there. Give them an opportunity to dream and know they can achieve anything if they want. Point to them the long line of female characters who have accomplished and defy the odds of the patriarchal society they lived in. Let them know they can.
This December we would be going to a school or village in a marginalized area of Kenya to provide mentor-ship, instill hope as well as give books to these girls. Give them the resilience to fight outdated traditions by showing them they can achieve anything! That their lives are not defined by what the society says about them! That they can break boundaries and borders to be all they were created to be.