Overcoming Early Adversity: A Journey of Resilience

As a child in Côte d’Ivoire, Pierre Soro (‘09 MABEL) was constantly sick. He still hadn’t learned to walk at 2 years old—late enough that the neighbors started to wonder whether he was even human. His parents frequently drove Pierre to the nearest health clinic, but 40 km was a long way to ride on a moped.

Pierre’s health crises drove his parents to the Lord. His mother begged his father to abandon fruitless traditional treatments and trust God for healing. A few months later, Pierre began to walk, and soon after that, his father became a Christian as well. Pierre remembers his father, who later became a minister, praying over his children that he and they would become blessings to their community.

A Global Vision for Local Health: The SAREPTA Impact

His father’s prayer has been answered in ways he would never have expected. In 2015, Pierre and his wife Paivi founded “SAREPTA Suisse,” which mobilizes the people of Switzerland to enhance healthcare in rural Africa. SAREPTA has built and staffed a health center in Pierre’s hometown, Tangafla, which serves 18 villages and over 17,000 people.

Now, families like Pierre’s have easier access to emergency care and preventative care. They can pursue a healthy life without sacrificing time and money they can’t spare. The Tangafla Health Center is working towards hiring a full doctor, which is more advanced care than any other health center in the country can currently offer.

Whenever Pierre visits Tangafla from his home base in Switzerland, friends and strangers alike approach him to say that the health center is a blessing. Even one of the most hostile residents thanked Pierre after the nurses there saved his life.

Bridging Continents, Cultures, and Communities

While Pierre has found his calling in healthcare, his training at DIU has proved invaluable to his present work. At the heart of its organizational model, SAREPTA knits together two countries: Switzerland and Côte d’Ivoire. Pierre is constantly interfacing between languages and cultures. Sometimes that is as simple as translating work documents between French and English so all parties can read them. Sometimes it is as complicated as communicating the heart of one community’s need to another that lives worlds away.

Either way, Pierre draws on the language and translation skills he learned at DIU daily as he navigates his multicultural environment. With two countries working together, Pierre sees blessings blossoming that would never have been possible if they worked separately.

“God has been using my training for his own glory,” Pierre says. Thank you for your generosity, which allows us to prepare more students like Pierre to promote flourishing in their communities for the glory of God.

DIU is thrilled to be a part of Pierre’s journey and we invite you to consider whether our academic programs could be a fit for you like they were for Pierre!