The first time I met Aline, she flung her arms around me and wouldn’t let go.

It was overwhelming to feel someone’s desperation through a hug. She was desperate to share her entire life story with me and ultimately anyone who would listen. We cried and hugged and I left, because I could and she couldn’t.

For the next couple of years, whenever I saw her, she would hold on tight. Desperate again to share her story, for someone, anyone to understand her plight and the depth of what she was dealing with. She had no family except a very sick aunt who she took care of. Sometimes her aunt was there when she went home and sometimes she wasn’t. Sometimes Aline had a place to rest her head and sometimes she didn’t. Sometimes she had food but most of the time, she didn’t. She was alone.

It took about 4 years for Aline to start to believe that she had a family. That someone would be there to support her and believe in her. That Komera was invested in her growth and would always be there. Slowly but surely, through constant love and support from our local team, that desperation turned into action.

Aline would walk to and from all of our leadership academies, sometimes up to five hours. She wanted to save the transport stipend for her aunt and for her basic needs.

Her national ID was wrong and she knew it would be an issue. So she found her voice with local and national officials for months- making sure that she would be able to go to University and study to become a Tour Guide.

During her Post Secondary Program, Aline again saved all of her transport stipends. Walking. Those savings went towards the launch of a small restaurant. She made enough money to pay for driving lessons and her road test. She has a vision.

Now Aline is in University. She is studying tourism while running her business. She will walk, she will save, and she WILL succeed.