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From Kibera Slum to Nottingham University

My name is David Collins Owuor from Kenya, a beautiful country in East Africa.  I am 25 years old and currently studying in Nottingham. I have been a Compassion sponsored child for almost twenty years having gone through the Child Sponsorship Programme and the Leadership Development Programme (LDP). I am sharing my life story to proclaim the love of God through Compassion International.

My story begins in the humble slums of Kibera in Kenya. I was born to the late Mr and Mrs Otieno on the 12 February 1987. My late father was working as a peasant farmer in a tea farm in another town when I was born. During that time, my late mother had been selling second-hand clothes and vegetables which she would buy from the local market.

Life in the slums is challenging and plagued with disease, insecurity and poverty. This is the life that millions of people live and among them are so many children who are innocent, but at the same time “too small to ignore” as Wess Stafford, Compassion’s President, puts it.

Living in a small room with a tiny table and a sleeping mat as the only valuable things in our house, my mother never stopped struggling to support me. My father could barely afford bus fare to visit us and the little he earned was never enough to sustain us.  Years later, my parents decided to move from the Kibera slums to Kangemi, another slum in the western part of Nairobi where my Compassion story begins.

When I joined a Compassion project, I got to attend school for the first time and got to hear about Jesus on Saturdays at the church centre. I gave my life to Christ having been richly blessed by the worship. Over the years, my school fees were paid for and my textbooks and uniform were supplied by Compassion. Through the sponsorship, I was able to primary and secondary school. I did well in my final examinations and later joined the Leadership Development Programme (LDP) in 2006. I was sponsored to study a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Technology at the University of Nairobi.

In my four years as an LDP student, not only did I gain an education, but I was also given the opportunity to develop into a young Christian leader. Compassion organised seminars and conferences in which other LDP students could meet from all over the country. We learnt important Biblical principles, mentorship and counselling, listened to renowned Christian leaders and participated in missions. The missions trained us to go into the community preaching the love of Christ. We built houses and schools in the communities, prayed with so many hurting people and even delivered so many to Christ. LDP was the highlight of my life in Compassion. I am currently an LDP alumni and cherish all the blessed times I had as a young student. I graduated from LDP last year.

My father passed on in the year 2000 from AIDS leaving my mother, my three siblings and I. My mother was also infected and died in the year 2009. I am thankful to Compassion for the care and support they offered my mother and my family during that hard time. Compassion bought medication for my mother and bought her food supplements while she was ill. They provided food for my family during the hard time. My mother passed on while I was in the LDP programme and the support I was getting helped to support my younger siblings. Being the oldest of my siblings, I was charged with the responsibility of taking care of my brothers and sisters at a tender age and I could not have done it without the sponsorship.

The degree I undertook at university was motivated by the death of my father. It hurt me to know that so many people are suffering from many diseases. The whole continent of Africa suffers from the effects of disease. I wanted to do a course that would help me give back to my community in a big way. I wanted to be a scientist involved in research and participating in developing vaccines and drugs to combat the many diseases in Africa and the rest of the world. It is the same passion that encouraged me to apply for a scholarship to pursue further studies.

I am currently studying a science course at the University of Nottingham and involved in high level research. I am dealing with drug design and vaccine studies of the major diseases. I applied for a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship last year and started a one year Master’s degree in September 2011. I am really enjoying my studies and thankful to the Lord for all He has done in my life. Looking back to the young boy who first arrived at the Compassion office in Kenya, having no clue of what lay ahead, I bless the Lord for how far He has taken me.

Compassion seeks to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. My life story is a true testimony of what the Lord can do in the lives of millions of children all over the world when His people decide to be a blessing to others. Compassion International is one such avenue through which God works to bless the world. I always talk about Compassion and sponsorship wherever I am. My desire is to see more children being released from poverty through the great work of Compassion. I am humbled to speak about this great family and will always love to share my story to tell the world the goodness of God. I am blessed to be an advocate for the children! On behalf of all the sponsored children out there, I am sending a big thank you to everyone committed to blessing a life all over the world.

My future plans are to complete my studies and return to my country. I was volunteering as a researcher at an institution in Kenya. I would like to go back to continue my research in AIDS, malaria and other major diseases. I would love to sponsor children on my own. I am currently supporting my younger siblings and when I start working, I will commit to be sponsoring  Compassion children.

Matthew 14:14 “When Jesus saw a large crowd gathered, He had Compassion on them”.

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12 Responses to From Kibera Slum to Nottingham University

  1. Nisha Banga 16/04/2012 at 10:42 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing David’s inspiring testimony. It was such an honour to spend time with him and his passion is so evident that you can’t help but be inspired!

    • David 16/04/2012 at 9:15 pm #

      Thank you Nisha. It was great spending time with the Compassion family. I will be coming back very soon. Have a blessed week

  2. Lorraine Rose 16/04/2012 at 6:15 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this with us. David is an inspiration to everyone.I pray that he will be successful in his exams & that his desire to see more children released from poverty will happen very soon.

    • David 16/04/2012 at 9:16 pm #

      Thank you Lorraine. Please join me in prayers that the Lord will work in amazing way over the next few months. God bless you

  3. David 16/04/2012 at 9:13 pm #

    I am blessed to be part of the Compassion family! I pray that my story will bless so many people and that the Lord will use me as a vessel for His glory. Thank you Compassion family and thank you Joe for the blog, God bless you!

  4. Joanna Cromarty 19/04/2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Thank you David for sharing your inspirational life story. I have just climbed Kilimanjaro to raise money for some of Compassion’s LDP students in Kenya. We met some of the LDP students while we were in Nairobi. Like you, they are inspirational young leaders who have overcome so much suffering and hardship and are now having such a positive impact on those around them. With the hope given by God and Compassion sponsorship so much is made possible! Every blessing in your work and in the support of your family.

  5. David 22/04/2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Hallo Joanne, thank you for you comment and congrats on climbing Kilimanjaro! I am happy to know that you met my fellow LDP students, we are always grateful to meet new people and share the stories of how great the Lord is. God bless you and thank you for being a part of Compassion. I hope you had a wonderful experience climbing Kilimanjaro and visiting Kenya. Have a blessed week.

  6. Lily de Arreaga 04/05/2012 at 1:03 am #

    Thank you David for sharing your story. As an LDP Specialist in Guatemala, I feel grateful to God of knowing that you are inspiring other young people to reach their dreams! Keep on going :D

    • David 04/05/2012 at 4:45 pm #

      Thanks Lily, and God bless you for the wonderful work you are doing as an LDP specialist! I owe my Kenyan LDP specialists a lot of thanks for their encouragement during my time in the LDP. Thank you for the many lives you are blessing and for the future leaders you are helping to bring up.

  7. Chris Whitehead 01/07/2012 at 10:08 pm #

    David. Really appreciated the time we were able to spend with you last weekend. It was our privilege! Hope to meet again in the future. Chris, Jenny, Ame & Josh

  8. obed 25/10/2013 at 2:15 pm #

    nh late.Thank you Davi for your humbling storry.I am also an ldp student graduating next and i can yruely attest that compassion has heavily ibcested in us.I am from a humble background in western kenya,when i was 7 Years i thought i was a lesser person but compassion reversed this notion.I thank Gid for my sponsor whp sacrificed her convinience for the sake of me. This investment will never be in vain.i salute compassion and am ready to serve the community inspite of all challenges in it.

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