A Girl's Fate, Changed Because of You

08/26/13

"Without your support, Sikileti would have been married by now." Chikondi Kadongola's face becomes serious as he sits next to the eighth-grade girl in front of her home in Malawi. As a Children of the Nations (COTN) Village Partnership Program Coordinator, he knows that sadly this is the case for too many girls like her. Unable to afford education, they drop out of school and get married—sometimes as young as thirteen—in order to survive. 

 
But marriage is the last thing on young Sikileti's mind. Of course, she dreams of one day having a family, but she has a lot she wants to do first. "I want to help others," she says. And this year is critical—she will take her exams to complete primary school and go on to high school. "She is fairly certain she will pass the exams and realize her dream to become a nurse," says Chikondi. 
 
Sikileti with Chikondi Kadongola, COTN–Malawi's VPP Coordinator
                       Sikileti with Steven Chisale, one of COTN–Malawi's Village Partnership Program Coordinators. 
 
"I like the science subjects, and I feel like I can be a good nurse," Sikileti says. 
 
Tall and thin, Sikileti exudes confidence and drive. But she hasn't always been so certain of her future.  There was a time when she wasn't even sure if she would eat each day. 
 
Sikileti lost her father when she was just two years old. "She was so young that she didn't even realize what was happening," Chikondi explains. Her mother remarried and moved away, and Sikileti and her younger brother Francisco were left with their grandmother in the village of Chirombo
 
Their grandmother did her best to care for them, but she had a very small farm, and sold most of the food. "The food that remained after we sold some was never enough," remembers Sikileti. "Most of the times we were eating only once a day."
 
With barely enough food for each day, other things—like soap, clothing, and school supplies—were out of the question. 
 
Sikileti and Francisco joined COTN's Village Partnership Program when it began in Chirombo, in 2007. That year, thanks to her sponsors, Sikileti began school for the first time, starting in third grade. 
 
Sikileti and Francisco still live with their grandmotherToday Sikileti and Francisco still live with their grandmother. She is able to provide for them now, thanks to your assistance with education, food, and other resources. 
 
Sikileti is old for her grade because she missed so many years of school when she was younger. But that doesn't discourage her. "It is a testimony to see her in grade eight and her brother Francisco in grade three today," says Chikondi. 
 
The impact that child sponsorship has made in Sikileti's life is clear. But when asked to explain the biggest difference her sponsors have brought to her life, Sikileti says it's something more important than education or food, "I have learned the word of God, and now my life is different," she says. "I received the Lord Jesus as my personal savior in 2011." Now Sikileti says her biggest role model is Deborah from the Bible, who was recognized as a great leader and judge. "I am inspired to become like her," she says. Besides Deborah, she mentions her sponsors, saying, "I love you and the help you are giving me." 
 
500 children like Sikileti need sponsors to help them attend school this fall! Will you help a young woman take charge of her own future? Sponsor a child today!