Mercy 2015 05

My name is Mercy Atieno. I am a determined, hardworking, principled and honest person. I grew up in an amazing children’s home and therefore understand the challenges that face many children in Kenya and other third world countries.

Separation, divorce, irresponsible parenthood, early or forced marriages, unwanted pregnancies, illiteracy and death caused by HIV/AIDS are some of the problems most kids face.

All the children in the home I grew up in saw each other as brothers and sisters. My experience with children started when I was a little girl. I watched the older ones take care of the younger ones when the workers were away and when I got older I did the same to the little ones.

Working for Matunda has given me the opportunity to teach these amazing girls and boys the importance of looking at the other kids as family.

Growing in a children’s home gave me the experience of a life time. I know that the greatest gift one can give a child is the gift of love. Love surpasses all things. When a child feels loved, he or she also feels appreciated.

I believe that every child is special irrespective of who they are or where they come from. Each and every one of them should therefore be treated with lots of care.

As a girl I understand the challenges that the girl child in my country battles with: unwanted pregnancy, forced marriages imposed by cultural beliefs, rape and molestation. Educating a girl is a way of educating the whole nation because when a girl is empowered a lot of challenges are seen in the society. I feel obligated to encourage young girls to value education and remain in school.

Education is escapism to the many challenges that face children not only in Soweto but also other slums in Kenya.

I believe in three important words “pay it forward”. This means that I will use the good done to me and use hope to use my experience in the children’s home to put a smile on these children’s faces.