TANYA'S STORY

Tanya's mother gave birth to her out of wedlock and left her unattended at her grandmother's home when she was only 8 months. Her grandmother thought her mother was in the neighborhood but she never came back. Her grandmother and uncles were bitter about her mother's actions and would frequently turn their anger on Tanya. When Tanya turned 10 years her relatives refused to educate her and sent her away to find her mother. She wandered in the neighborhood not knowing where to go. A lady, who knew where her mother was married, bought for her a bus ticket to Eldama Ravine where her mother lived. She gave Tanya the directions and luckily at the Eldama Ravine centre she found her mother.

She learnt that her mother had two more children from her current marriage. Her joy was cut short by her parents constant fights and one day her mother ran away and left Tanya in this home. Tanya was told by her step father that she did not belong to his household and should therefore follow her mother. At this point, Tanya left and decided to go to the home of her Sudanese friends who lived in the same location. During the following Christmas, this new family promised Tanya a better life in Sudan and she agreed to join them. In Sudan she was forced to change her name and never say she is Kenyan. Tanya's traffickers wanted to marry her off to an old man and she managed to escape. Tanya was later rescued by a Kenyan man who together with the Kenyan community in South Sudan assisted her come back to Kenya through the intervention of a story written by the Nation newspaper. CDTD alerted the International Organization for Migration (IOM) about the plight of Tanya and another girl after which a joint operation was formed with UNICEF and the Kenyan Community in South Sudan to bring the girls to TAGS for assistance.

At TAGS Tanya was counseled, taken to hospital for treatment as she and the other girl were sickly and in poor health. On the recommendation of the TAGS teacher, Tanya was taken to a boarding school in Kitale where she joined Primary Class 6 after being out of school for 1 year. Tanya graduated from class 8 after sitting for the national KCPE examinations in 2015. She joined form 1 in 2016 and is very glad to be in high school. Tanya is resilient, hardworking and very determined to make it in life. She does not see any other path of achieving her goals other than education. Tanya enjoys singing and is very outgoing and welcoming. Her dream is to study agriculture. Through her own initiative, while at the shelter, Tanya helps other girls with their studies and also helps out in the kitchen.
Tanya's family re-union has failed because her mother has refused to take her in citing that she has a man in the house who cannot accept her. Tanya wept bitterly when this happened and returned to TAGS ashamed that she had no home to go back to. Next, TAGS traced Tanya's grandmother who also refused to take her in because "alikuwa na guka mwingine" in Tanya's words (she had remarried).

Inspite of all the above tribulations, Tanya's spirit is unbroken and she is looking forward to completing her high school education and to build a life for herself.