Monthly Archives

July 2023


By Featured, Project Stories

Fiercely Passionate in All She Does.

Arms slice through the air as they glide back and forth in a steady rhythm to propel the runner forward. Feet strike the ground to create a tempo boosting the runner with each stride. Lungs fill and deflate with deep breaths to oxygenate her system. Running a sprint is, well, intense… just like Linda. She’s driven, passionate, and diligent in her craft. She’s a sprinter, and a very talented one at that.

Linda was doing all the right things. She was a role model for other young girls at school and in track. She worked hard and excelled. But Linda was also dealing with poverty, and that put her in a bad place. Her mom couldn’t provide for her. Even though she had success and freedom at school, she still couldn’t afford basic items at home like soap and sugar.

In her hard-working, go-getter way, she wanted to improve her situation. So when a teacher at her school offered to help her out, she accepted. He began to provide money for some of her basic needs—but it came at a cost. He took advantage of her vulnerable state and demanded sex from her. After this happened multiple times, Linda became pregnant.

She felt so worthless. Shame overwhelmed her. She was beyond embarrassed because everyone at school knew what happened and called her names. All her dreams were stripped away. She stopped competing in track and couldn’t attend school. She was crushed, her dignity was depleted, and depression set into her deepest parts. Linda felt no value in living anymore. She would angrily look down at her pregnant belly through tear-filled eyes, punch her stomach, and yell. She did NOT want this baby, but even with her family encouraging her to abort, she wouldn’t go through with it because she had heard horror stories of women dying from abortion. She felt stuck in her ruined life and stuck with a new life forming inside her own… she wanted to just end it all.

It was in this state—this feeling of desperate brokenness—that Linda got connected to Wakisa, our partner organization in Uganda. She came to Wakisa during her pregnancy, and they helped teach, prepare, and transform Linda. It was at Wakisa that Linda found love. Found compassion. Found redemption. The counselors there helped her process through her situation, and let her cry on their shoulders. They loved her, and they helped teach her how to love her soon-to-be baby girl. They helped restore her dignity.

After Linda gave birth to her daughter, Elizabeth, she left Wakisa with a renewed sense of hope and strength in her life. Linda didn’t want to give up—she wanted to continue to work hard so she could provide for Elizabeth in ways that she was never provided for as a child. She went to a local church and learned how to cook. This sense of purpose and challenge reignited her flame of passion in life, just as it had burned when she was an athlete and student. She began volunteering at a kitchen and eventually, she was offered a job.

As incredible as it is to hear that Linda went from a high school dropout to keeping a full-time job that provides for her family, her story doesn’t have a fairytale ending. Yes, she pays her family’s rent and school fees for Elizabeth, but it’s still not enough. When we met Linda, she didn’t have enough money to send Elizabeth to school with a snack like all the other kids had, and she couldn’t afford medicine for her grandmother’s heart condition, so they just went without it that week. Whether it’s a simple school snack or necessary heart medication, it all resonates the same: Linda is still unable to make all the ends meet, even after doing everything she can. And yet, it’s Linda’s attitude that is so inspiring. She didn’t choose to be born into poverty, but she’s making the most of life. The strength of an athlete—a sprinter—burns in her as she presses forward to accomplish her goals.

To impact more women through Wakisa, donate to our Wakisa Skills Training Project today!