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My name is Nona [name has been changed]. I am 16 years old. I’m in seventh grade and I have lived for almost four years in Casa Vida. I am very happy today, but before coming to CV I was a very sad little girl. I could not smile or talk to other people.

When I was three years old, my father killed my mother with a knife. I was three days alone with the decaying body of my mother at home. When they found me, my father had killed himself too. I went to live with my uncle. One day when I was still very small he took a knife and said if I did not do what he wanted, he would kill me as my father killed my mother. I was very scared and so for years put up with being abused by him. I never told anyone. When I was twelve years my aunt told the leader of my village about what my uncle was doing to me. The police took me from home and brought me to Casa Vida.

My life changed. Here I felt I could be happy! But it was not easy to accept the love and affection that everyone gave me here. Six months after arriving at Casa Vida I attended a dance at the Christmas party and managed to smile for the first time after the death of my mother. I went back to school.

I love to embroider and Aunt Simone said this is good because it is also therapy. I live at the “House of Love” and despite never anyone in my family having come to visit me, I am happy because I know that God has given me a new family here. Here I have learned that I am special to God and that He is my Father who will never leave me nor hurt me. I know I’m happy and that is what matters!