While at school, her dad’s words of abuse often rang in her ears, and she struggled to focus on learning due to her lack of sleep. Yvonne was an ICCM-sponsored child. She was thankful for the opportunity to go to school and prayed for her sponsors every day, and she knew they were praying for her.
Yvonne’s dad struggled to keep a job. A cycle of abuse and stress continued. She tried her best to navigate school but constantly worried about her family and felt ashamed of her test scores.
At 19 years old, she prayed, “Lord, what kind of life is this? Please help us!” With a spirit of boldness, Yvonne decided to take action. She searched and found a home for rent and convinced her mom to pack up and move while her dad was at work.
After graduation, a leader in Yvonne’s church, Neddy Nanjowe Dingili, encouraged her to volunteer as a Sunday school teacher. Yvonne reluctantly agreed. She wanted to help but didn’t have confidence she would be good at teaching. Slowly, she began to realize her skills as a teacher. Her compassion for the kids and understanding of their daily challenges allowed her to encourage and build them up.
Yvonne decided to pursue her teaching certificate and became a teacher at Pendo Grade School. After six years, she started an aftercare program for kids at risk while their parents were at work.
Around the time she started teaching, Yvonne became acquainted with Vickie Reynen. “Vickie was a mentor sent by God.” In 2015, they worked with other women in the church to start the Thrive advocacy group. Yvonne blossomed in the companionship and safety of the group as they met regularly to pray and support each other.
Today, Thrive partners with Set Free to educate students in ICCM schools throughout Kenya. Students learn about gender-based violence and how to protect themselves from human trafficking and other abuse. They teach girls how to stay in school with the help of Wunders menstrual hygiene kits, which are made locally in partnership with SEED and Tumaini Women Kenya (TWK). Yvonne also works for TWK to track savings and loans for the members.
Yvonne now shares, “I know my story won’t end in ashes but in testimony and to give hope to other broken-hearted people. I have forgiven my dad. My heart is healed, and I am Set Free to Thrive and lift up others.”