27 Apr Faces of Children of Hope: Maria
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Today, Kenya is a country filled with rich culture and ethnic diversity. With the 42 tribes spread throughout the Kenyan territory, they come together to make up the culture we know and are proud of. Each of these tribes has set customs and beliefs which have evolved to align with the globalization movement. Despite these changes, there are some beliefs and traditions that are still rooted in the past which can make the modern world difficult to navigate. Maria from our Kitalale home is no exception and her story is a testament to what happens when the past and the present come together.
At the age of 14, Maria’s mother was taken advantage of by a man suspected to be a close relative of hers. With certain traditions and beliefs being passed down from previous generations, it was believed that a child of incest and rape was to be killed or abandoned to prevent this from happening in the community again. With this belief in place, Maria was born against the odds and was abandoned by her mother. Without a caregiver or resources to maintain her, Maria’s grandmother was put in a difficult position on whether to follow the community’s expectation or give the newborn a chance in life. The grandmother decided to visit a catholic church mission group nearby to explain the situation and ask for help. The missionary group reached out to the Children’s Department who then referred Maria to us. On the 2nd of December of 2011, Maria was given a second chance and officially became part of our Kitalale home.
A Story of Faith
Once in our Kitalale home, our Aunties fully dedicated themselves to saving three-month-old Maria. Weighing only 5 pounds (2.5kgs), the doctors diagnosed her with anemia where she was placed on a feeding program to help her recover. With the help of the Aunties and God, Maria recovered and her success is one of the greatest achievements celebrated at the Kitalale home to date. Today, Maria is 8 years old and has grown to be an incredibly sweet girl who wears the biggest smile on her face and loves attention. In school, she has been described as a ‘happy soul’, is a quick learner and ‘full of life’ by her teachers and peers.
Growing Up in Kitalale
Defying the odds against her, Maria has grown to become an incredibly warm and loving girl. Her infectious smile and energy are contagious to those around her. She enjoys playing with the other kids and being part of activities like the at-home fashion shown above.
One of Maria’s greatest gifts is her ability to make friends quickly. Her infectious positive energy and care make her the life of the pack. Maria looks up to Grace, Faith and Viola, these three girls do well in school and have guided and taught Maria about fashion. In this year’s Kitalale home ‘fashion show’, one of the most awaited events of the year, Maria stepped up her game and displayed her best runway looks. The results of the contest are not out yet but all of the contestants did an amazing job.
When we opened our doors to our Kitalale home nearly 10 years ago, we knew that we wanted to create a safe home for kids to grow feeling empowered and loved. It is story’s like Maria’s that remind us of our purpose and calling. With trust from God and you, we are able to give kids in Kenya a second chance. To support our kids, consider making a contribution to the child sponsorship fund.