My name is Odep. I am a heartfelt individual with a keen desire
to help others. My desire and passion lies with children and
adolescents who have experienced hardship throughout their lives.
As an individual born with HIV, who has lost many loved ones and
experienced firsthand living on the streets of Eldoret, Kenya, I
feel a distinct connection with what many children and adolescents
are going through. I have positioned myself within the Eldoret
community as a spokesperson for young adolescents living with HIV
and advocate for the health and well-being of street children. I
love sharing my story to anyone, anyplace, and anytime.
Currently, I am working as a volunteer peer navigator with the
AMPATH-Kenya prevention department. My volunteer experiences
consist of me visiting various institutions; prisons, schools,
companies and streets (road shows), to share my personal story and
advocate on HIV/AIDS in my hometown. Through my work as a
volunteer, I have noticed a positive change in the mindset and
attitude of people regarding HIV and I am very grateful and humbled
that I've been fortunate enough to contribute to this.
In my mentorship work with the street children of Eldoret, I
share my personal story of what it was like living on the streets
as an adolescent. Personally, I feel that by sharing my story with
these children they will be inspired to have more hope in their
lives and try to live healthier lifestyles.
In addition to peer mentorship, I also coach the street children
football club called SC FC. I am proud to say that we have
participated in a numerous tournaments and finished particularly
well in each of them. Not only has the team performed well,
focusing on the essential tenets of teamwork and goal attainment,
but also they have had so much fun competing together and this
fills them with hope and laughter. It is great to see children who
have experienced so much hardship enjoy themselves. This inspires
me to try and give more children similar opportunities. I first
handedly know what it's like to be in their position, and I want to
provide something positive for them.
Many of my peers look to my fun and outgoing personality for
cheering up. Through my rapping and comedic alter-ego, named Fat
Prince, I perform artistic and comedic expressive words of
encouragement to my peers. Fat Prince represents an outgoing
adolescent in western Kenya who brings light to social issues found
in our society with a comedic twist. I have found my performances
as Fat Prince not only bring laughter to the group of my peers, but
also instill hope through my encouragement to stay healthy, despite
various social and medical challenges that we all face.
I hope that my combined efforts, as a peer mentor with AMPATH
and my experience working with the street children of Eldoret, will
one day break the stigma barriers and hardship associated with
poverty and HIV for children and youth living in Eldoret. It is my
goal to bring together my town of Eldoret and build a welcoming and
understanding community. My experiences with conquering my own
hardships and coming to accept my HIV status have shaped me into
the young man I am today. I am proud of who I am and of what I have
overcome. It is my dream to be a role model for those living with
HIV and those living on the streets and provide a beacon of hope
signifying that they too, can live healthy and fulfilling
My future plans are to attend college and study clinical
psychology or a related discipline. This education will give me the
necessary knowledge to fulfill my dream of contributing to the
betterment of the community that I grew up in. I plan to do
so by continuing to establish relationships with the street
children of Eldoret and set an example of what they can achieve. It
is my hope that I can encourage the children to pursue education
and be successful and contributing persons in our community.
Kenyan school children.