FLORAH AKINYI OTIENO
Finding Florah - May 2017
Florah is the newest addition to the She Has A Name family, coming into the program during the Summer of 2017. When the team met Florah we immediatetly were drawn to her. Incredibly bright, Florah's story is one of neglect and love, because Florah did not come to us unattached - her 14 year-old sister, Samantha, was firmly in tow. Neither girl had ever met their fathers, and their mother had disappeared from their lives after serving time in prison. Left in the care of a neglectful and bitter aunt, the girls were fending for themselves. For a period of time, Florah found that she could survive and care for Samantha the same way she saw her aunt making money - by selling herself to men. Her shame drove her away from prostitution, but left her and Samantha with few options. Both girls had dropped out of school and were scrounging for food and shelter during the days and nights that their aunt would kick them out of the house while she carried out her own business.
One of the most difficult aspects of bringing Florah into the program was her little sister. Florah had protected Samantha from the harshest realities of the street, and so Samantha did not qualify to be in the She Has A Name program. However, if we removed Florah from her protective role, Samantha's future was going to be at risk! Florah is so smart and showed such potential, that team members knew that something had to be done. One Team member committed to paying Samantha's school expenses and to find safe housing for her during breaks, and Florah could enter the program without worrying for her little sister.
Florah was placed into boarding school, and tested so highly that she was advanced a grade beyond our expectations, and has already risen to the top of her class. We expect big things from Florah. She is open to big dreams, saying, "I do not know what I want to become, but that does not mean that I want to be nothing! I am not going to waste my life." Florah is excited about her future, and so are we!
Florah is currently supported through June, 2018.