CFCA stories

Tanzania sponsored youth treasures new uniform

January 5, 2012

Sometimes, a simple piece of new clothing can light up the world for a sponsored friend.

CFCA sponsored youth Gladness and mother in Tanzania
CFCA sponsored youth Gladness, left, and her mother in Tanzania.
Gladness is wearing her new school uniform.

With a new uniform, Gladness can live up to her name. Gladness, 16, is sponsored through CFCA's Hope for a Family program in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

"I now have a new uniform which I keep clean," Gladness said. "My peers no longer treat me differently and unlike before, I now enjoy going to school."

In Tanzania, mothers of sponsored children develop budgets for their individual monthly sponsorship benefit, said Greta Ryan, CFCA project director for Tanzania. The budgeting process helps the family identify and reach their goals in the Hope for a Family program.

In Gladness' case, her mother budgeted for the new uniform. She understood the importance of the uniform to her daughter's well-being.

Gladness is the oldest of four children. The uniform she had was badly worn, and her parents could not afford to buy her a new one.

"It is very expensive to have a tailor make the uniform," said Magdalene, Gladness' mother. "I felt sad seeing my daughter wearing a tattered uniform to school."

Gladness found it difficult to be with her classmates because of her worn clothing.

"I felt left out," Gladness said. "I was embarrassed to be among my schoolmates. My school uniform was worn out with patches all over."

The CFCA social worker attending to Gladness and her family advised them to save part of the sponsorship benefit so that Gladness could buy a uniform and school bag. After saving enough money, Gladness went to a tailor who took her measurements and sewed the uniform.

Rose Muiruri, coordinator of CFCA's project in Dar es Salaam, also understands the positive impact a new uniform can have on children.

"Providing school uniforms to schoolchildren boosts their self-esteem and dignity," Muiruri said. "They feel like they belong."

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