The above were the words of Michaela DePrince, an award winning Sierra Leonean-American ballet dancer, in the August issue of Glamour magazine.
Judging from her past, Michaela had nothing left to conquer as a child born in war-torn Sierra Leone during the country’s decade-long civil war. Rebels killed her father, and her mother died of fever and starvation. As if that was not enough, she had vitiligo, a condition that causes patches of skin to lose its color.
Because vitiligo was considered ‘a curse of the devil’ in her native land, she got abandoned by her uncle at an orphanage; where she was taunted and abused by the women who cared for the children.

But she, not overtaken by her horrible experience in the orphanage, trained as a ballet dancer – a passion inspired by a picture of a ballerina she saw on a magazine. Today, at the age of twenty-five, Michaela is ranked as a soloist at Dutch National Ballet.
The truth is, man is nothing but what he makes of himself. Michaela was not born with a silver spoon, yet against all odds, she has risen beyond her ‘shabby’ backgrounds to become a person of substance and great impact. You also can! No matter how bad your past may seem, you must refuse to live as prisoner to it.
Your past is meant to be a source of strength to you and not to weigh you down. Don’t hold onto it! And if you can find a way to overcome it, great things are bound to happen. Don’t forget, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. If you do not give up on yourself, you will surely get there.

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