November 14, 2018
Since she was a little girl, McKenzie has dreamed of becoming a teacher. A false employment agency offered her an opportunity to become a certified teacher in the Caribbean. Thrilled at the chance to work with children, McKenzie left her home in Africa. When she arrived, she was enslaved, starved and repeatedly abused.
McKenzie escaped her captors and ran screaming down the road until she found a man who spoke English, who connected her with the O.U.R. team. O.U.R. helped McKenzie get home to see her 11-year-old son and ensured she received quality aftercare from one of our partners.
We have been following her journey as she continues to heal and pursues her goal of becoming a teacher.
McKenzie completed a daycare certification program, which is a prerequisite for becoming a teacher. She shared with the O.U.R. team her desire to wear a dress at her graduation.
“I want a dress, because I am worth it and I am beautiful and I am worth celebrating,” McKenzie said.
Despite the hardships she faced, McKenzie has an incredible knowledge of her worth. Her self-love and confidence continues to propel her towards her goals.
McKenzie invited the O.U.R. team to visit her home, where she shared her many accomplishments. First, she completed her certification to become a teacher. Her son is also enrolled in school, and she now has her own apartment.
McKenzie also introduced the team to members of her extended family, who have been crucial in supporting her through her healing journey and encouraging her to fulfill her dreams.
When McKenzie’s town went into lockdown due to the pandemic, the schools closed, and she was unable to continue teaching. O.U.R. provided some financial support, and McKenzie began finding creative ways to earn money.
McKenzie first started offering to wash her neighbors’ clothes. However, carrying the heavy loads of laundry caused her considerable back pain, so she started looking for a new entrepreneurial venture.
With her sister, McKenzie was able to gather some capital to start a baby shoe business. They make the shoes by hand, which is difficult work, but McKenzie says it’s all worth it to provide for her family.
The pandemic has brought new challenges for McKenzie, but she continues to maintain a positive outlook. Just recently, her son, who is now 13-years-old, was able to return to school
“Even though times are hard, I still have to praise God for the big things and the little things,” McKenzie said.
We are inspired by McKenzie’s passion and commitment to provide for her family and to continue forward despite challenges. We are grateful for the opportunity to support survivors like McKenzie through their journeys.