Ask any mother what she wants more than anything in the world, and she’ll likely say, “for my children to be safe, healthy, and happy.” For mothers living in extreme poverty, this gift is hard to come by … especially now with the threat of COVID-19. But people like Gertrude Jima (pictured right) are at the forefront of giving moms what they want most – access to knowledge and resources that empower them to care for their children.
Kumari* is 15 and studies in the 10th grade. She is part of a World Vision ‘Girl Power Group’ where she learned how to protect herself from abuse. She was taught three steps: she must scream, she must get away, and she must report the incident to people she trusts…immediately. Unfortunately, she had to use what she learned in real life.
She was walking alone to a study group when a man from her street stopped her. It was dark with no streetlights. The man started speaking in a lewd manner and proposed that she take part in a sexual act.
Killion, aged 51, and his family struggled with life. Born and raised in Mng’ona village in the Chilenje community, he accepted the status quo of being a villager. Poverty was part of life. He never produced enough maize (corn) to last all year round due to poor farming practices. As a family, they were sleeping in a grass-thatched house that would leak during the rainy season. “Life was difficult. We lacked food especially during the lean periods. We used to sleep in a grass-thatched house.
Thanks to Covid-19, most of the world is getting an up-front-close and personal course in disaster management. One of the keys to good disaster management is understanding risk. World Vision does a lot of work in communities that have to manage risks that come from various sources - hurricanes, earthquakes, famines, floods – or even from a pandemic.
Water from a rusted pipe flows down through the grass to a nearby swamp, leaving a trail of orange sediment. “That is the iron in the water. It has rusted the pipe and turned the grass and soil orange,” says Humphrey, a World Vision WASH officer.
“The water in the ground is bad! You cannot drink it, clean with it or even use it for agriculture,” Francis, the chairperson of the Tusinbude household cluster explains as community members sigh in agreement.
“It’s a miracle that my daughter is alive today,” says Sonya Hamboya, a 25-year-old widow in southern Zambia.
Sonya is a vibrant mother of two adorable kids, a boy and girl, 11 and 5, respectively. She lives with her children and baby niece in a mountainous, remote village in World Vision’s Moyo Area Program.
As a child, Sonya loved school and hoped to become a doctor. Unfortunately, at 14, she became pregnant in eighth grade and was forced out of school.
World Vision’s expertise in the prevention of the spread of infectious disease has never been more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most important activities to prevent the spread of the virus is to ensure that people have a way to wash their hands and understand why it’s so critical. And of course, you can’t wash your hands effectively without clean water.
“I enjoy spending time with my mother and showing her what we learn at school,” says 12-year-old Theonile. Anne Marie cherishes the moment her daughter Theonile arrives home from school each day. She is proud that Theonile is studying hard.
Anne Marie Mukandekezi, 38, is a mother of six and a resident of Gishubi village in Gakenke district in the Southern Province. She has always been a farmer but could only produce enough food for her family.
Jamila is the leader of the Jorna (Bengali for “waterfall”) Girl Power Group (GPG). The GPG meets every Sunday afternoon and they dutifully sign their names in a register. “In case some girls don’t show up, we go to their homes to check on them,” says Jamila. World Vision helped launch Girl Power Groups to help ensure girls do not go missing.
Much to Jamila’s horror, one day it was her own sister Salima who was missing. Jamila shares, “There were tears in my eyes. My sister was gone. We were always together. My only sister.”
It is early in the day and I have already lost count of how many times I have needed to use water. I have so far needed water to brush my teeth, bathe, prepare breakfast, drink coffee, and quench my thirst. With the various tasks that make up my morning routine, I hardly ever stop to think, “Is this water safe to consume?”
I don’t question if there will be enough water to fill my cup. I don’t have to travel a long distance to access my water, and I never wonder if my short walk to the tap will be dangerous.