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”.