by Radiyah Shakur
Dubliner, Christina Noble is like a cat with nine lives. Her dedication to children and charitable work is a direct result of the tough life she endured.
Born December 23, 1944 in the slums of Ireland, Christina was one of three siblings raised by her mother, and neglected by a father who swindled away the family’s money on alcohol. When her mother died at age 10, she and her siblings were split and sent to different orphanages. Throughout the four years she spent in the institution she was force fed information that her siblings were dead. Christina eventually escaped, and literally slept in a hole she dug out in Phoenix Park in Dublin. During her time on the streets she was gang raped, bearing a son named Thomas who she was forced to give up for adoption three months later.
When Christina was eighteen she then left for England to be with her brother. This is where she met and married her husband, with whom she had three children Helenita, Nicolas and Androula. The relationship proved itself dreadfully unhealthy, suffering physical abuse and infidelity. The trauma Christina experienced later led to a miscarriage, a failed attempt at suicide, and to shock therapy for mental breakdown and depression.
It was Christina Noble’s first-hand experience with knowing how unbearable children’s institutions could be, with poverty, and with living on the street as a child that motivated her to found the Christina Noble Foundation for Children. The first foundation was established in Vietnam in 1989, where its network and reach has expanded greatly since then. Set up in Ho Chi Minh City, CNFC provides shelter, education, health care and most importantly love for less advantaged children in Vietnam. In 1997, Christina established a second foundation in Mongolia for street children and orphans as well. She still remains heavily involved in the CNFC’s work, and continues to improve the lives of disadvantaged children in these countries.
Autobiography 'Bridge Across My Sorrows' published in 1994, and her follow-up called 'Mama Tina' which was released world-wide in 1999