Strength. We all need it. When life knocks you down, it takes strength to get back up, dust yourself off and persevere.
The definition of strength is the capacity to withstand great force or pressure. All of us face challenges in our lives. But when youâre living in extreme poverty and you donât know where your next meal is coming from or how you will afford your rent, life can be terrifying. In the face of challenges which can literally be life or death, strength is vital to survival.
Here are three amazing women whose strength inspires us!
Fatimata â the single mum courageously fighting HIV
Fatimata had just lost her husband when she found out she was HIV positive. With four children to care for and no job, Fatimata says âMy life was no longer worth living with all these challenges. I cried all the tears of my body, mainly when I thought about my children.â
Determined to persevere, Fatimata enrolled her daughter Safiatou in her local Compassion project in Burkina Faso. Thanks to sponsorship, the family receives food on a monthly basis. Fatimata smiles and says, âI receive rice, maize, milk, oil and fish every month at the project and my family is now blessed to have at least two meals a day. I take several medicines every day at given hours and I eat well.â
Carmen â the burns survivor with relentless faith
Carmen was six months pregnant and craving bread. Driving back home from the shops on her motorbike, Carmen was hit by another motorcyclist who lost control while doing stunts. Flames were all over her and she had to beat them out herself with no one coming to her aid. Despite suffering third and fifth-degree burns to 90 percent of her body, she stood up, ran home and got her neighbours to drive her two hours to hospital. Doctors predicted that Carmen would only survive 24 hours and her partner decided to leave her the night of the accident, never to appear again.
Carmen refused to give up. Her recovery stunned doctors and she continued her pregnancy. The staff at the local Compassion Child Survival project learnt about Carmenâs predicament and swiftly enrolled her to provide support. Her daughter Karla was born prematurely soon after, weighing one-and-a-half-pounds and blind. Carmen still bore the burns on her body. But despite these challenges, Carmen and her daughter recovered quickly.
âI thank God that today I have my daughter and also my [left] arm, even though I canât use it. My baby is healthy, with all of her faculties, has a good weight, is very clever and is almost walking,â says Carmen. âI love everything about the Compassion project. I love their help when my family and I are hungry and love that they care for my child and give medical follow-ups to her. It is not only the economic support but also the companionship. Sometimes I get sad, but I give thanks to the Lord because probably if had I not had that accident, I wouldnât have a family as the Compassion family is for me.â
Despite her hardship, Carmen remains optimistic; she has persevered and is not alone.
Nasinde â the 75-year-old mother
Raising a child at any age can be a daunting prospect let alone in your seventies. But that is exactly what Nasinde is doing. When she was 65, a baby was found in the bushes near her village in Kenya. A single woman living in her paternal home, eking out a living by selling beaded ornaments, Nasinde barely scraped enough money together to survive. But that didnât stop her from helping the abandoned child.
âYou never know what the child could become in the future. I believe it is the responsibility of society to take care of children who are abandoned. We should all strive to help, no matter how little you have,â Nasinde said. She named the baby boy Lenkai, which means Godâs gift, and has raised him as her own.
Lenkai is now 11 years old and is sponsored through Compassion, which helps Nasinde to meet his needs including medical check-ups, food and education. âI have never regretted the decision. I vowed to bring him up as a gift from God. I prayed to God to give me a child, but I did not expect it to come in this way. Now I have someone to carry on my legacy and my name!â Nasinde said.
At Compassion, weâre privileged to come alongside amazing women and girls in extreme poverty, to empower them to overcome the challenges that poverty puts in their path. Every time a girl is sponsored, she is taught the skills she needs to persevere to break free from poverty. And as a result, the future is brighter not just for her but also for her family and her community.
Sponsor a girl today