Meet Faith, a former sponsored child who is now a project officer for Plan International Kenya
Faith joined the Plan child sponsorship program in 1982, when she was 7 years old. Today, she’s a Plan Program Officer in Kenya. Here’s her story in her own words.
Plan International had just opened its offices in our area and my family, among others, were supportive of its mission. I was enrolled onto the sponsorship program, and I can still remember my sponsorship number!
My memories as a sponsored child are still fresh in my mind. My sponsors were from the Netherlands and I used to communicate with them through letters. I enjoyed drawing and writing letters to them, and having my photo taken to show how I was progressing.
I treasured those moments, because I knew it was Plan that was behind the improvements at my school and in my community. I used to admire the Plan International staff members who came to our home because they were doing a good job of making my community a better place to live.
My community benefitted from changes in our school facilities, such as the building of new classrooms, toilets blocks and new desks. Many girls were able to start attending school more consistently because critical physical facilities such as toilets and water points were now available. We were also taught about our rights as children, which was very enlightening.
When I was young, accessing health care was a nightmare. We had to walk for long distances to reach the nearest hospital — but this changed when Plan International established a local health post. The center was a blessing to the community, as it provided good quality health care to all the villagers.
After leaving school, I trained as a social worker and counselor, and wanted to work with children and young people. Plan International played a major role in inspiring me to work with communities, because from a young age, the importance of working for the best interests of all children was instilled in me.
Now, I work as a Plan International Kenya program officer. I am currently implementing the Tulinde Tusome project, which aims to create safe spaces for children. This is a project that I hold dear to my heart because it is life-changing and inspirational.
I believe that education is the key to breaking down the barriers that stop children, especially girls, from progressing into positions of power and influence where they can promote positive change. When girls and boys have access to quality education, they are in a better position to make informed decisions about their lives and forge a better future for themselves.
Apart from my work, I spend my free time supporting children and young people in my own community to help them understand their rights and how to keep themselves safe from harm.
My experience has been truly rewarding. I enjoy connecting with children through my own story. I wake up every day energized to go and reach out to children and their families with a message of hope. Sometimes it can be difficult and there are challenges that I come across, particularly on issues around gender-based violence, but this will not stop me advocating for a safe community for all children.
I want every young girl to believe in herself and believe that nothing can stop her from excelling. I want her to know that she has a voice, she is powerful, and she has the potential to influence and be part of an empowering world. I look forward to one day becoming a country director in this wonderful organization.