Written by George (HOH Kenya staff)
All of her teenage life, Rashida lived in a slum in Nairobi. A place with no security and of constant fear for young girls. Her 3 younger siblings and her single mother had a hard life in the slum. They starved and lacked some of the most basic needs.
At 15 years old, Rashida dropped out of school and ran away from home since life with her mother was so tough. She found herself at her uncle’s door in a nearby village.
In the village, Rashida did odd jobs like tilling other people’s land in exchange of food. Soon, she found herself making more money than her uncle, and at just 15 years old, Rashida decided to go back home to help her family. She began washing clothes to earn money.
Rashida said that she often considered prostituting herself or getting married to a rich man so that they would not want anymore. In her mind, this was the only way out of the slum. She saw her peers get married or engage into prostitution, and every day was a temptation for her to join this style of life. She battled with so many thoughts and almost gave in.
The slum & shanty Rashida lived in.
Rashida’s mom attended one of Home of Hope’s weekly meetings that encourages, counsels, and trains women in business. They both started attending the weekly meetings. One day, I visited their home and saw how bad of conditions that they were living in. It was horrible! They were sleeping on the mud floor, had no toilet and no lock on the door. This is very risky for a beautiful girl like Rashida. Every time we would talk to Rashida, tears would roll down her face. She kept telling us not to ask anymore questions about her life, but we wanted to help her deal with the trauma and find out what they needed.
Our continuous counseling yielded some fruits, when after a year later, Rashida opened up to my wife that she had been raped and threatened by the rapist not to tell anyone or else he would kill her. She has never wanted even her mom to know.
She shared her story with a Canadian mission trip member and they encouraged her to see a doctor for the pain that she had been suffering from. She has undergone treatment and is regularly going back for check-ups where it was found that her urinal track had been infected.
Out of this sad situation, good has come. Her and her family are now living in an apartment (see pictures) with running water, a toilet, electricity and a lock on the door. They no longer need to live in fear.
Sponsors gave money for Rashida and her mother to have a microloan to start a business.
RASHIDA’S CLOTHING BUSINESS FROM HOME OF HOPE’S MICROLOAN SUPPORT
Today, this family is happy, safe and better than they have ever been. Rashida is excelling in her business. She has enrolled into a private school to finish her schooling and is paying for her siblings to go to school as well. Together with her mother, they are paying rent with no problem.
Her dream is to become a news anchor and a model. She serves in her church as one of the youth leaders and she uses her story to encourage other girls.
“I am so grateful for Home of Hope for empowering me and my family.”
RASHIDA POSING WITH HOME OF HOPE FOUNDER BRIAN THOMSON
Rashida (3rd from the left, in black)
Her story is an encouragement to the youth of her church.