Kenya sponsored teen finds inspiration in tennis
September 30, 2011
A passion for tennis and support from her CFCA sponsor helped 14-year-old Linda develop a winning approach, both on and off the court.
Linda, award-winning tennis player and youth sponsored through
CFCA in Kenya.
Linda, from Kisumu, Kenya, has been sponsored through CFCA since 2009. She is an accomplished tennis player and has used the educational opportunities provided through sponsorship to focus on her studies and tennis skills.
Linda learned about tennis by watching other children play at school. She said she admired them and wished she could join them.
"I love it so much," she said. "I strongly believe that this game will expand my potential and lift me to new levels."
She shared her passion for tennis with her mother, Pamela, who encouraged her to participate. Her mother has been Linda's greatest source of encouragement in tennis and is always present to support her in competitions.
Linda is the youngest of four children in a single-parent family. Her parents separated before her birth so she has never met her father.
Through sponsorship, Linda receives school fees, school supplies and medication. She also attends CFCA Christmas and birthday celebrations.
While her sponsorship helps pay for her tuition, relatives and friends add what little they can afford so her brother, Joseph, and her sister, Mercy, can attend school. Her mother covers the difference with income she earns doing odd jobs for their local church.
Linda enjoys Christmas and birthday celebrations most since these events bring all families in the CFCA program together to share their achievements and challenges. They enjoy cake and music, eat delicious meals and are given gifts to carry home.
Since Linda is in seventh grade, she tries to balance her time between school and tennis. She hopes to perform well at school and to become a pilot. Tennis will continue to be part of her future.
Her favorite tennis players are Serena and Venus Williams from the U.S. and Aziza Butonya from Burundi.
Sponsorship has filled Linda with optimism and hope, and strengthened her faith that the future will be promising.
Sophie Samson, Linda's sponsor.
"Even though we live in a single room without electricity and other things people may consider pleasing, the situation is just temporary," Linda said.
She promises not to take this golden opportunity made possible by her sponsor for granted, but to use it to change her family situation.
"I will always make my sponsor proud both in my studies and my tennis activities," Linda said.
In 2009, Linda began participating in tennis activities sponsored by Amani na Upendo Development Group, a local organization dedicated to nurturing sporting talents — mainly tennis — in underprivileged children.
The group provides tennis equipment for the children, who use it for practice in the evenings and on weekends. The children train for one hour in the evenings and four hours on weekends.
The level of play and the backgrounds of Linda's tennis mates inspire her. Linda has collected many medals in national and international tournaments in Kenya.
Linda enjoys receiving letters from her sponsor, 14-year-old Sophie Samson, a great source of encouragement for her.
Sophie is pleased that her family's support and encouragement are helping Linda develop her talent.
"I am very proud of her, and I hope she continues to play tennis for a long time," Sophie said.
Read Sophie's interview regarding her sponsorship experience.