Here in Canada, the Fall season denotes bountiful harvests and thanksgiving! But in Zimbabwe, Julia's harvest was filled with little hope. That is, until a kind stranger sponsored her son, and helped change her family's life.
Julia Giramo is a single mother who used to spend her days farming under the hot Zimbabwean, to put food on the table, clothes on her children's backs and supplies in their school bags. She did her best, but life was a struggle. And she felt like she was going through it alone.
“My husband no longer wanted to help me in the field, or with school fees for the kids. I used to wonder how I would raise my children alone, and without any money,” says Julia.
“I grew corn, cassava and beans. But what I reaped from the field was not enough to feed the family.”
Financial struggles forced Julia’s children to drop out of school.
“It broke my heart to see my children working as farmers like me, like my parents did. I wanted a different for them.”
Her youngest child, Ramiro, dreamed of becoming a teacher, but with his brother and sisters dropping out of school, Ramiro knew this was unlikely.
But he held on despite the challenges.
“I did not have clothes and exercise books to go to school. I used the same exercise book to for two and sometimes three subjects, which is not allowed at school,” the young boy says.
Julia tells that in a year she was only able to buy second-hand clothes for one child, what it means that Ramiro could spend three or more years without a new piece of clothing.
Renewed Hope Through Sponsorship
Everything changed in 2008 when Ramiro was eight and become a sponsored child.
“My sponsor is like a parent, because that is what parents do for their children. They provide so that their children can go to school to fight for a place in society,” Ramiro says.
The letters Ramiro receives from his sponsor are particularly special.
“He inspires me to keep studying though the letters he sends. I learn more about him and his family, the same way he learns about me and my family,” Ramiro describes. “I was afraid to end up like my siblings, but now with his support, I feel more confident that I will finish my education and become a teacher.”
Although Ramiro’s sponsor is thousands of miles away, Julia feels his presence.
“I don’t feel alone any longer raising my babies,” Julia says.
To help make sure that the family has enough healthy foods to eat, Julia also received training on how produce vegetables in the dry season using the water from the rivers.
She is a part of a group of famers supported by World Vision with trainings and tools, which they use to grow lettuce, tomato, union and cabbages.
These farmers used to only be able to grow food in the rainy season. Now they can grow crops year-round.
”Some of the vegetables we will use at home and others we will sell. If everything goes as we expect, we will build a bakery,” Julia explains.
Providing Quality Education for Children
Before, Ramiro’s school building in the community of Nihessiue was made of wattle and daub, with a grass roof. When it rained for more than a week the kids couldn’t attend classes.
With help from World Vision, the community was able to build three new schools, two of them fully equipped with desks and other supplies.
Now with just 20 minutes on his bike—another gift from his sponsor—Ramiro is at school and ready to study; another step in his journey to become a teacher.