SYLVIA KHASOA has been through hell and back. She talks to SILAS NYAMWEYA about life on the streets and how a good Samaritan saved her when she least expected it
The horrors she experienced on the street haunt her to this day.
“Life was horrible but food was always guaranteed when I was living on the streets and that was the only thing holding me back,” says Sylvia.
His mother ventured to brew changaa and busaa in a slum in Eldoret when she regained her health.
On the streets, Sylvia learned survival tactics. She also had to drop out of school.
“The boys were tough and for us girls to survive there, we had to develop tough skin and learn to fight for our rights. We used to collect plastics and scrap metal which we sold for a few coins. If you weren’t careful, the boys would take all the money or what we collected for the day,” Sylvia recalls.
Sylvia’s turning point came when a charity – Mully Children’s Family Home – traveled to Eldoret in search of street children to rescue.
Sylvia was among those selected to join the charity program. Support consisted of providing rescued children with basic needs like food, water, clothing and taking them to school.
Sylvia went back to school and never looked back.
After high school, the charity also sponsored Sylvia to pursue a degree in administration and secretarial studies.
Sylvia’s star continued to shine. She now holds a bachelor’s degree in community development from Daystar University. Her husband, John Maina Njoroge sponsored her university education.
“Through it all, I managed to overcome all the obstacles and become a successful woman in my society. I never gave up and it was never an option for me despite everything I’ve been through. I am so proud and happy and my experiences have not been in vain, I have learned to appreciate life and all the ups and downs that come with it,” she adds.
Now Sylvia is using her life story to give hope to other girls who are going through what she went through. She has embarked on motivational programs where she encourages girls to pursue what they believe in.
“My motivation to inspire young people really comes from my experience. I have decided to always speak up whenever I have the chance to reach out to girls and young women on issues that matter in their lives,” says Sylvia.
She is the brains behind the Simama na Dada Foundation which provides girls with sanitary pads and mentorship. This aims to ensure that girls stay in school and are comfortable with their learning processes.
“I believe it is my responsibility to inspire, mentor, motivate and empower all girls and young women in my country and beyond. To campaign for their rights to education and safe health products is my life philosophy,” she adds.
“I know that I am accountable to God to ensure that every girl and young woman achieves her goals and dreams.”
Sylvia is also a community worker at Mully Children’s Home.