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AIDS orphan has bravery in abundance

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Surviving and thriving
  • Sanyu Nakyeyune is an AIDS orphan who brought up her two younger siblings
  • 14-year-old Ugandan has been helped back into school by Ugandan education charity
  • Nakyeyune wants to train to become a doctor when she is older
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Uganda

London, England (CNN) -- Her parents died of AIDS when she was only ten years old leaving her to bring up her two younger siblings in a rural Ugandan village without running water or electricity.

Somehow, Sanyu Nakyeyune got through.

"I managed by collecting firewood from the forest, fetching water from the wells, watering people's gardens and washing people's clothes to get money and buy milk for the baby," she told CNN's Max Foster.

Now 14 years old, Sanyu Nakyeyune is just one of an estimated 15 million children who have been orphaned by AIDS.

Her struggle to cope was helped by prayers she says.

"It's what I had to do. I was just praying that someone would come into my life to rescue me."

And that's exactly what LEAD Uganda did, giving her the chance to study at a good school.

LEAD Uganda come to the rescue of hundreds of children affected by AIDS, war and poverty every year through educational initiatives helping young people like Sanyu help themselves.

She is now attending a boarding school, getting good grades and one day hopes to become a doctor.

"Everyone has a dream," she said. "But if you don't study you can't accomplish your goal. When you are out there not studying it's useless."

She hopes that her experiences will help other children who find themselves in desperate circumstances.

"Tell the world about AIDS," she said, "and support programs like LEAD Uganda. Help us join schools so that we can become the leaders of the future."

"I'm trying to teach people to be strong, to be brave, to believe in themselves." They are qualities that Sanyu clearly has in abundance.