Vivian from Kenya

Vivian in school office
Vivian in school office

Nine-year-old Vivian was an apprehensive and withdrawn little girl. She lived in the slums of Kibera, Kenya, with her four younger cousins and her abusive aunt and uncle.

Vivian’s aunt and uncle were explosive alcoholics whose drinking binges often left the five children to fend for themselves. As the oldest, Vivian felt responsible for her cousins’ welfare.

Through the Lord’s leading, staff members at International Needs Kenya identified Vivian as a child at risk. An investigation by social workers revealed that, tragically, Vivian had been physically and sexually abused for some time. Although she attended an informal Kibera school, her unstable home life and frequent absences contributed to her poor academic performance.

A short time later, Vivian’s aunt and uncle had a violent fight. Her aunt walked away, abandoning the five children. The children were offered temporary shelter by a neighbor, but the situation was not sustainable and left Vivian vulnerable to predatory men in her neighborhood.

Something had to be done to save Vivian.

International Needs staff tried to transfer Vivian to a local boarding school. But Vivian failed her entrance exam and school refused to admit her.

The social worker pleaded with the school to reconsider, sharing the sad story behind Vivian’s underachievement. Finally, the school agreed to an oral interview.



“If you were given a chance to study in our school,” the head teacher asked, “what would you like to be in the future? What is your dream?”

“I want to be a doctor,” Vivian replied.

The interviewers were shocked by Vivian’s forthright answer and asked her why she had such a big, improbable dream.

“I want to help people from Kibera who get sick but can’t see a doctor because there aren’t enough doctors in Kibera,” came her compassionate answer.

That answer earned Vivian the chance to study at the prestigious boarding school. It was an uphill struggle at first, but Vivian was bright and hardworking.

Now in seventh-grade, Vivian is one of the best students in her class. Tall and slim, she is eager, communicative, and deeply grateful for a God of second chances and the godly men and women He uses to deliver them.

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