The story of Michaela DePrince is one that is truly inspiring.
Not only did she overcome all the odds that were stacked against but also proved the age-old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” right!
Michaela DePrince then known as “Mabinty Bangurawas” was born in Sierra Leone in 1995. Soon after her birth, she lost both her parents to the civil war in her country and was placed in an orphanage. At the orphanage, DePrince’s nightmare started.
DePrince suffered from vitiligo, a condition where the skin loses pigment cells and as a result loses its color. The condition caused DePrince’s neck to develop white spots which subjected her to a lot of ridicule and name-calling from her community. Her only friend was another girl with the same name as her, “Mabinty”.
Because of her condition, she was labeled as the “Devil’s Child,” and no one would adopt her. DePrince recalled her terrible experience in the orphanage saying, “They ranked us. Number one was the favorite child, and number 27 was the least favorite … I was number 27.”
“They kept saying, ‘Why would somebody want to adopt the devil’s child?’” she told Today.
DePrince spent a lot of days hungry and starving because of the neglect she faced. Her life seemed hopeless until she randomly came across a picture of a ballerina in a magazine.
She shared in interviews, “It was not just the fact that she’s a ballerina. It’s that she looks happy. And I wanted to be happy,” she added, “if what she was doing made her happy, that’s what I wanted to do.”