I'm in Africa visiting our programs this summer. I'm so pleased to share updates with you right from the field. I was in Mombasa for several days and visited Furaha, a girl whose been in the program for many years. At 17, she finished high school and is now in tailoring school. We want to support her throughout this difficult transitional time, as she needs to get a skill and start putting it to use if she is going to break the cycle of poverty. I walk into a poorly lit sewing school where 20 girls are learning how to sew. The low hum of voices is heard over the hum of treadle machines as we arrive for an unplanned visit. The teacher is walking through the tables, looking at work being done.
Suddenly, she stands up and says, “Tanya!” in such a tender way, it brings tears to my eyes and we wrap our arms around each other. I am touched that she remembered me so quickly, even though I would know her anywhere. She's been in our program since she was 8, so she is family to me. We hug for a while and I am so glad to see her. She looks well and she is proud of getting a skill. She shows me a pair of shorts she made and when i hold the up to my waist, all the girls break out laughing. I encourage her to keep going, to do well, to excel in what she does and I find myself promising her a sewing machine if she completes the highest course so that she can start a business. It will take her three years to get a diploma and let her know how proud we are of her to embark in this career. As I encourage her not to give up, I know I am asking for much as every single day, she must make the decision between eating lunch or taking a bus to school. Sometimes she doesn’t have the 20 cents required for the bus, so she misses school, but she assures me she will do her best, which is all we want from and for her.
(I'm unable to upload photos from the field, as internet access has been spotty. We will upload a photo of Furaha when Tanya return to the USA.)
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