Last week, we went and did another assessment to a slum area that we had never been to before. In fact, we didn’t even know it existed.
We met an amazing woman named Caroline. She’s a widow – twice over. Both husbands died of HIV. She, herself, is HIV positive, fighting to stay alive for her children.
Caroline’s home is no bigger than eight feet by eight feet. It is your typical home of mud and sticks with a leaking tin roof. She has one bed and two chairs for her and her children to sleep on.
Caroline is the type of widow we love to and desire to work with. She saved up money from casual work and invested it into a business to help support her family. She goes to town each week and purchases clothes inexpensively. She then walks back to her home area and sells them for a higher price. With this business, she makes about $50 US per month.
Sean encouraged and affirmed the great work she was doing. The more he encouraged her, the more his eyes welled up with tears. And so did Caroline’s. When was the last time, if ever, that she was told she was doing a great job to take care of her children? When was the last time someone showed love through their words to her?
During our meeting with her, she told us that her 15-year old daughter was not in school because she did not have the funds at the time to register her into grade eight. Grade eight costs a bit more because of preparation for the final exams to head the class into high school. Unfortunately, her daughter will not be able to attend school for the 2014 year as you need to register at the beginning of the school year which is in January. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get her registered into school in the 2015 year. In the meantime, we are praying about what she can do for the remainder of this year so that she doesn’t stay idle at home. We are looking into a few different options.
We also found out that her two of her daughters, ages 10 and 12, walk round-trip 40 KILOMETERS (almost 25 miles) for school each day. They head out at 6:00 in the morning, when it is still dark, walking through the slum area to get to school. The reason they walk so far is because they were going to move to that particular area, enrolled in school and then Caroline decided not to move there but couldn’t afford the fees for the schools in her new home area.
This caused us great concern as walking in the dark in both the morning and evenings is dangerous, especially for girls. The chances of them being raped, taken for child trafficking, or kidnapped to be house girls’ increases in areas of where they walk through.
We also found out that the two younger ones, ages 5 and 6, walk round-trip 12 kilometers (over 7 miles) to their preschool. This too, is dangerous for them.
When we heard this, we knew that this was an immediate need for the family; to get her four children out of the schools they were currently in and into schools that were closer so that they would be safer in walking to and from home.
This is where we are calling upon you for assistance.
In order to move the four children to a school in their home area, we need to raise $300. This will cover the cost of: desks, uniforms, school fees, feeding program, and school supplies.
Anything we get above and beyond that amount, we would like to put toward two different things. The first is to increase Caroline’s current business. If we can have her invest double, she will be able to make more each month and be able to provide for her children the basic necessities of food and shelter. Our prayer is that we can come alongside and assist with school fees for the children through the sponsorship program but she can take care of their other needs.
The second thing, should there be excess, is to purchase a bunk bed (or two), mattresses and blankets for them. We would like to work with her to possibly find a bigger place for the family, especially if she is able to increase her monthly income. Then we can purchase the beds once she’s in the new home.
Our first and foremost desire is to protect her children and get them to closer schools.
If you would like to assist with this, please see below of where to send the money.
You can send cheques to:
199 Jean Street
Please make the cheques payable to: ASSISTS PROJECTS and on the memo line of the cheque or an attached note, write: O5M – Caroline.
Note: Our apologies to our US supporters as you will not receive a tax receipt if you send funds to this address. We are working on getting a US contact so that you will be able to receive tax receipts in the near future.
We look forward to updating you on this family.
Thank you in advance for your support.
In His service,
Sean & Meredith