Taking flight

going from War Orphan to ballerina By Kayla Richards

Micheala Deprince- Biography part 1 (Child hood)

I was born in 1995 in Sierra Leone. My birth name was Mabinty Bangura. I gained many family members throughout my life. I was Born with a skin condition called vitiligo. Because of my vitaligo I had a harder life than many other kids, but that was one of the least of my worries . I was born to two wonderful parents. My parents knew that they would love me forever even though I had vitiligo. My uncle believed that I was not worthy of living because of my condition. My uncle also had many wives and he disagreed with my father for only having one, my mother. There were many wars in Sierra Leone. One day I head that one of the gunmen shot my father, and killed him. This was when my world started to shatter like glass. The debils were the names of the soldiers that killed and harassed people, my family feared them. After my father died My mother and I moved into My uncle house. My mother and I were treated very badly there, sometimes we weren't given food and we were constantly being beat by my uncle. One morning I woke up and my mother was dead, she had starved to death. when my uncle found out that my mother was dead,he put me in a truck and dropped me off at an orphanage with not even a hug. I was tortured at the orphanage. It was hard for me to make any friends because of my skin condition. The head of the orphanage was uncle andrew. The women that worked their and cared for us we called our aunties. The girl I shared my grass mat with on the first day became my instant friend. She told me her name was Mabinty Suma! My best friend had the same first name as me. One of the aunties, auntie Fatima was the worst part of the orphanage she beat and tortured me. She hated me because I was a confident little girl who had vitiligo. She tried to make me cry, but I promised my self that I wouldn't let her see me cry if I cried at all, I would do it in private. I didn't want her to think she could make me feel bad. But one time when I was asleep she poured pepper in my eyes and made a little boy pee in my face. That moment she succeeded she had finally made me cry. At the orphanage I had two common names that I went by, number twenty-seven and Devil child. The way we would get food in the orphanage is they called us by numbers and gave us rice. I was twenty-seven the last person, this meant that on somedays it was possible that I wouldn't get any food at all or less then everybody else. I was called devil child because of my vitiligo. One day when I went outside a magazine in the wind flew right to me, I saw a picture of a ballet dancer on it, at that moment I knew what I wanted to do. There was only two people I could trust at the orphanage, My best friend Mabinty suma and my teacher, teacher sarah. One night Debils were attacking and It was unsafe to walk on the street, but teacher sarah was convinced that she could make it home safely and quickly. I watched her quickly walk away but then a truck pulled up to her. Oh No! I thought. One man Stabbed her and pulled out her baby. I have to save the baby I thought, I ran to the baby as she drew her first breath. A man picked me up and through me on the side of the road, at least I wasn't killed. Little did I know My life was about to change for the better very soon. Uncle Andrew announced that Americans would come and visit us to see which ones they wanted to adopt. My heart raced. The americans gave us food, new clothes, and vaccinated us. A couple weeks after they left we got family books. Each child got a family book from a American family that wanted to adopt them, except me. I thought I was going to have to stay, in Africa at this orphanage alone with auntie fatima. The worst part was Mabinty suma had a family, and even if a family did pick me I would be losing her, the girl who grew to become my sister. Later, when the parents came to pick up their knew kids, I recognized a woman from Mabinty suma's book. Thats her mom, I thought. I dragged her over. I saw a woman's feet with flip flops on, we both looked up. The women patted our backs. "Im your new mama." she said to both of us. Mabinty suma and I were going to be sisters! It was a long process to get to America. We had to be examined, vacinated,and we had to get visas. We stayed at a hotel in Ghana with our new mom while we were going through the process. Our mom realized that when she called mabinty we both came running, so she named me micheala and Mabinty suma Mia. We loved our new names. When we got to America we met our dad and brothers. We all became very close. my parents explained to me that I couldn't take ballet classes until I learned how to speak English. In a short amount of time I was taking ballet dances with Mia and we both instantly loved it. When we went so nutcrackers I was focused on the dancing but Mia's mind always went to the music. Being adopted into America saved our lives.

Biography part 2

Throughout my childhood in America I gained family members. My parents decided to adopt more children. I gained three more sisters. I also focused on ballet a lot. I did many performances,intensives,and Nutcracker shows. Even though I became close with all of my siblings, Mia and I have had a special bond ever since day one at the orphanage.

Biography part three (My path to notoriety and what someone can learn from me)

I became known as the war orphan to professional ballerina. As my dancing grew I became more known, I joined different companies and kept getting better. People find my story inspiring, because of what I went through and how I used it as a stepping stone to build something amazing. Something that people can learn from me is, to never let challenging things get in the way of achieving something, instead use of as a stepping stone and build off of it.

My life now

I am now 21 years old, I am apart of the Dutch National Ballet's junior company.