Sonia is a 20 year old student at Ndejje University in Uganda. She grew up an orphan with six siblings, being cared for by their 86 year old grandmother. The family lived in a rural community dominated by farming but because they owned no land themselves, they had to make a living cultivating the land of their neighbours.

Girl in AfricaWhen she was still young, Sonia’s brother began to develop a severe illness from his untreated diabetes. Although treatment did exist, the family could neither afford, nor access medical care. He died soon after becoming ill, and was followed by Sonia’s two sisters.

The family of eight was diminished to just four: Sonia, her grandmother, sister, and brother. With no funds for education, Sonia’s older sister had few options for her life. She did not want to be a burden on her already suffering family and so—at just 15 years old—Sonia’s sister got married and now has 3 children of her own. In comparison, Sonia’s brother was able to gain employment as a driver; he too is married and has 2 children.

But Sonia wanted different for her life. She wanted to go to school, to learn, to dream, and to aspire to be someone. After getting in contact with local partners, Sonia earned a scholarship from Beautiful World to finish secondary school and attend Ndejje University.Girl in Africa

Sonia remains in a close relationship with her grandmother. Having cared for her since she was a child, her grandmother made enormous sacrifices to ensure the survival of Sonia. Since moving away to attend school, Sonia still comes home almost every week to take her grandmother to church.

The love and dedication Sonia has for her family has translated into her academic life. She now studies social work and social administration in the hopes of becoming a social worker. Sonia wants to be a voice for those suffering in her village.