My eye-opening interview with 410 Bridge alumni Victoria Mutua
Written by Brittany Weibenga
When Victoria reached the seventh grade, she was at the top of her class. She had worked hard and pushed forward to achieve academic success, but this still did not guarantee a better life for Victoria or her family. She held out hope that maybe she could attend a secondary school that was taught outside of her small community and surrounding tribes. For Victoria, this meant breaking away from the small, poverty-stricken community she had been raised in. It meant freedom and a chance to see her dreams become a reality finally.
But Victoria was still living in extreme poverty. How could she afford to go to such an excellent school when her family struggled to put food on the table every night? She knew it was impossible without a miracle from God.
A year later, when Victoria was in eighth grade, a representative from 410 Bridge came to visit her classroom. They spoke to the young pupils about the program, and Victoria’s mind became filled with beautiful fantasies of all the things she could be if she could pursue higher education with the help of 410 Bridge. So, Victoria worked hard, harder than she had ever worked before, and was eventually selected as one of the students who would be enrolled in the 410 Bridge program. Soon after Victoria was enrolled, she received yet another life-changing miracle! She was sponsored by Deena Marshal, who would help make it possible for Victoria to attend school through Kenya’s secondary school program!
After she graduated from secondary school, Victoria pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and Media. Soon after, Victoria felt the Lord calling her back to where it had all started, with 410 Bridge. She now works as a community coordinator in Kenya for 410 Bridge! She has dedicated her life to helping others, specifically young teenagers involved in the program. Victoria is passionate about helping these students discover the talents God has given them and shows them how to use their gifts to serve others in and around their community.
But even more specifically, Victoria feels called to help change others’ perspectives on poverty.
“So many see poverty as a problem, but in reality, it is the solution. It is a motivation for people to work hard and leave the struggles of poverty behind them to start a new life for themselves and their families,” she says.
To help encourage those enrolled in the 410 Bridge program, Victoria often tells the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 4 from the Bible. The story explains that a prophet’s widow is trying to pay off her husband’s debts. Elisha agrees to help her, even though she has nothing but a jar of olive oil. Even still, Elisha tells her to collect as many jars as she can from her neighbors and keep filling them with oil from the one small jar that she has. Miraculously, she filled not only her jar but many others as well! From there, she was able to pay off her debts and support her children.
Victoria believes this story is a perfect illustration of how God is always able to multiply, even when we have little, and He often does so through people who are willing to help others. Those who sponsor through 410 Bridge motivate these students to make their dreams become a reality. These students were once like Victoria, dreaming of a different life, which can now become a reality! But just like the story with Elisha, if you start with something, even if it is a small something, much will be added if you trust in the Lord.
When asked what inspired her to keep pushing forward and break the cycle of poverty, Victoria said, “My motivation came from my sponsor. Because she paid for me to go to school, I knew the only way to honor her was to work hard and excel in my studies. For someone to sacrifice so much for someone who is not even their own family, I was so grateful.”
And the message Victoria has for you?
“Try, explore and grow. Never keep your skills to yourself. God has equipped you for a purpose. Whether a positive or negative impact, you will always learn and grow and become better. Someone will always benefit from what you can bring. Nothing is useless.”
Sponsor a Child
There is no better way to engage in our work than to walk alongside a child on their journey of development. 410 Bridge’s unique approach to child sponsorship eliminates the barriers to quality education for 100% of the children living in our communities, not just the sponsored few. It’s another example of the paradigm-shifting approach to how we engage the poor. We can’t do it without your help.