My name is Chepkorir and I am 21 years old. I am my father’s only child, so I had to tend to my father’s cattle from a very young age. I never set foot in a classroom, nor held a pencil or book. I had always dreamed of going to school but from the life I was living, this dream seemed very far fetched. When I was 10 years old, I overheard my father talking about the dowry he was arranging for my marriage to a 76 year old man. That is when I decided to run away. I found refuge in a catholic church. Here, I was taken to school for the first time in my life. My father never stopped looking for me and at some point the church opted to refer me to HAART Kenya, as they considered HAART’s shelter to be a safer place for me.
At the shelter, I met many girls who had been through similar things. I slowly regained confidence. I also continued with my education and in 2017, HAART made it possible for me to enroll at a National polytechnic to pursue a diploma in office administration. I received my diploma in 2019. Soon after that I was able to secure an employment opportunity with one of the major supermarkets in Kenya as a cashier. I was set to be posted to one of their branches in April 2020. It felt like I was living my dream.
When the Coronavirus pandemic hit Kenya in March 2020, the government put in place measures to curb its spread, among them a national curfew and travel restrictions. A lot of businesses had to lay off staff to minimize their losses. Unfortunately, I was among the affected ones. I received an email from the supermarket management that my job placement had been postponed indefinitely. This came as a shock to me because I had been working so hard towards my new life. I am currently struggling to buy food and pay rent as I used up all my savings. I really hope I can stay strong until this pandemic is over and I can start my new life.
Survivors of human trafficking need your help now! Due to the effects of COVID-19, most of the survivors in HAART’s program have lost their income. Please help us raise USD 50,000 to carry 100 survivors and their families through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Let them have a future.
Go to haartkenya.org/donate to support Chepkorir