Taken from the Miry Clay: Precious's Story

05/27/14

In December 2013, Precious became the first sponsored child from COTN–Sierra Leone to complete university. "It's a very huge honor," she smiles. "One I thought could never happen, even in my wildest dreams." 

 
Precious is our first university graduate from Sierra Leone
                   Precious is our first university graduate from Sierra Leone. "It's a very huge honor," she says. 
 
Ten years ago, this confident, well-spoken, and beautiful girl was fighting for her life on the streets. Precious's father had abandoned her family in Nigeria when she was young, and her mother had been left to single-handedly provide for her family. 
 
The last straw for Precious and her five siblings was when her eldest brother—the only one who could help her mother support the family—died. "When my brother died, everything turned upside-down," Precious says. "Everything was awful for us—no place to stay, nothing to eat. Unfortunately for us, we started sleeping on the streets." Precious's three half-brothers left to stay with their father, leaving Precious, her little sister Susan, and their mother to fend for themselves.
 
A decade ago, Precious was homeless and fighting for her life
A decade ago, Precious was homeless and fighting for her life. "Everything was awful for us. We started sleeping on the streets."
 
Desperate for a place to stay, Precious's mother decided to return to her homeland, Sierra Leone. But when she found her family's home, her father had died and no one remembered her. Once again, the little family was forced to the streets. "We had no alternative," Precious says. 
 
Precious and her sister Susan were sleeping on a staircase when Sierra Leonean Social Services found them. "The workers came, and they said, we cannot leave these children to perish on the streets," Precious remembers. "They asked us what we wanted, and we said, 'We want to go to school," Precious explains. "All that I wanted in life was to go to school." 
 
Precious proudly gives a speech at her graduation celebration
Precious proudly gives a speech at her graduation celebration. When she and her sister Susan came into COTN's Children's Home, all they wanted was to go to school. 
 
In 2003, Precious and Susan came to live at COTN's full-care Children's Home. "My life after COTN is incomparable," Precious says. "There was no life on the streets." Though her life changed completely on that day, it took time for Precious to heal from the trauma she had endured in her short life. "My past haunted me so much," she says. "I had psychological problems that weighed me down for four or five years." Even today, Precious says she has flashbacks to those awful days. 
 
"My dream is to become an international lawyer."
"If I hadn't gotten off the streets, maybe I would have been a prostitute or a drug dealer," says Precious (with COTN nurses Agnes and Florence). "Today, my dream is to become an international lawyer. And by the grace of God, I will achieve it." 
 
But thanks to people like you, Precious and her sister not only had shelter, food, and the chance to attend school—they also had psychological counseling and the love and care of Christian house parents. "Being under a roof with God-fearing parents meant so much," Precious says. "If I hadn't gotten off the streets, who knows? Maybe I would have been a prostitute or a drug dealer," she adds, her smile fading as she considers what she was saved from. "But today, my dream is to become an international lawyer. And by the grace of God, I will achieve it.”
 
Precious is keenly aware that she is a pioneer and inspiration to all her younger COTN brothers and sisters. "Looking at my life before and now, it's kind of a great pleasure," she says, "because I see children here who were like me. But God took me from the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock."
 
Transform the life of a child like Precious. Sponsor a child in Africa or the Caribbean today.