Written by Javan Niyakire; Edited by Sarah Bartley
Every year around this time, Canadians start pulling out their favourite blankets and quilts, cozying up for the cold nights ahead. Universally, the blanket has become a symbol of comfort and warmth, and many parents can tell you about their child’s oh-so-special version, tattered and worn and dragged along on every outing.
Now, 10-year-old Odille will have this story, too.
A chilling reality
The northeast region of Burundi where Odille lives is frigid for most of the year. In fact, the English translation of the community’s name means just that—cold. Rates of pneumonia are high among children, as many don’t have the blankets and jackets they need to stay warm.
Not long ago, Odille used to sleep with a ragged blanket, filled with holes. The insulation in her old home was poor, and she’d shiver during the night, making it hard to sleep and stay alert the next day at school.
Her dad, Venant, longed to buy her a new blanket. But as a banana farmer working to make ends meet after a sparse harvest, he simply couldn’t afford it.
“How can I think about blankets, while worried about finding ways of put something to eat on the table?” he asks.
The warmth of kindness
Then, something incredible happened. Odille’s community received a generous Gift-in-Kind donation from World Vision supporters like you. The gift? Brand new blankets.
Odille loves her new blanket and keeps it wrapped around her, even after she wakes up. It may be just a small gift, however it has big implications for children like Odille, who dreams of becoming a nurse.
Now, children can get a better night’s rest, which in turn, will allow them to show up to school on time and ready to learn. To share the love and warmth, more blankets will be gifted to the other kids in Odille’s community—leaving none out in the cold.