Hawa Koker was born in a village called Mando, Sierra Leone. Hawa’s mother gave her up when she was born because of a superstition that anytime she gave birth to a girl, that child would die. She was brought to Bo to live with her grandmother, Aunty Keama. When Hawa was nine years old, her Aunty Keama became very sick.
With no one else to care for Aunty Keama, Hawa dropped out of school to take care of her. At just nine years old, Hawa became the head of the household. When her Aunty passed, Hawa was given to another woman for caregiving. Her new caregiver, Aunty Moina, was unable to pay for school. Because Hawa couldn’t go to school, her caregiver forced her to sell goods on the dangerous streets of Bo Town.
Hawa was treated poorly, deprived of being a child, and often starved. She was so hungry, and would often snack on food items she was supposed to sell. When she would return home without all of the items or sales money, she was punished.
At 12 years old, Hawa was brought into the care of Princess Promise after a community member noticed she wasn’t going to school. She was taken from her caregiver’s home and brought to live under Princess Promise care. Hawa was finally enrolled back in school and was admitted to 3rd grade. After missing so many years of schooling, Hawa was very behind.
Hawa worked extremely hard and caught up in school. She just scored high on her government exams and was accepted to start 10th grade at one of the best private schools in Bo. The Hawa that we met six years ago was hopeless and the odds were stacked against her. Today, Hawa Koker is thriving and is so excited for her future. She wants to be a nurse when she finishes school to help people just like her.
Hawa said, “Thanks to the love and endless support I have received from Princess Promise, I am feeling really hopeful. At the age of nine, I felt like my life had come to an end. When Princess Promise took me in when I was 12, my life changed. My life started taking a positive turn. I honestly thought everything was over for me, but Princess Promise came in and supported me 100%, giving me hope and light.”
Hawa trusted in Christ and was baptized in April 2018 on Easter Day. Hawa Koker’s life is just one of many beautiful Princess Promise stories of hope and healing. We are so proud of her commitment to growth and will continue to walk alongside her as she leans into God’s plan for her.