For more than 10 years, my dear friend Shaeli in Tanzania has worked hard every day, caring for the outcasts of her society: children with disabilities. She also cares for her own two children, insisting not only her son, but also her daughter, be educated. Despite great obstacles, she uses her very meager salary from working in the children’s center to pay for that education.
Above: Shaeli, her daughter (16) and her son (18.) She is determined to show her daughter that women should be respected, not abused, and to arm her with education. Her son is a top student who dreams of being a doctor one day “to help children like the ones my mother cares for.”
But the truth is, Shaeli and her children do not have a safe, peaceful place to live. She works constantly to earn extra money to provide this safety and security for herself and her children. In addition to her long work days, she grows vegetables, raises chickens to sell, sews for neighbors - anything to afford a few more cement blocks, some mortar here and there, to slowly build a home of her own. Over the years she’s made progress, but due to a worsening of some circumstances, she desperately needs to be able to live in the home soon.
Above: On a small plot of land she secured, Shaeli has worked day and night to purchase a few concrete blocks at a time, and this is how far she has come over the past few years. She can finish this immediately with just a little help from us, and finally be safe and peaceful!
At her current rate, it will take her years, perhaps decades, to finish this house, despite all her hard work to pay for the building materials and doing labor on her own. She and her children cannot live in the house at this point, obviously, and they remain without the safe and peaceful home they need. In a country with 80%+ unemployment and an average salary under $70 per month, it’s easy to see why this dream is taking so very long.
Above: Some of the chickens Shaeli has raised to sell and earn money. In addition to working more than full time with the children with disabilities in her care center, she does any odd job she can think of to one day live without violence in the house she is slowly building. In the meantime, she is still unsafe.
This is a woman who has given what she didn’t have herself to help widows and their children eat, to show love to and protect children whose own relatives believe them to be cursed and severely neglect them (like Isidori, in the photo below.) I worked with her for years, watched her do these things quietly and never complain about her sacrifices. Her heart is one of the biggest and most loving I’ve ever known.
Above: Shaeli feeding Isidori, a boy in her center who was hidden in a dark closet for 9 years after he suffered severe disabilities from an accident. She nursed him back to health and showed him love every single day.
She needs only $3000 to be able to finish what she’s started - built already with her own hands - and finally have a safe, modest home and peace. If I could fund it all myself, I would in a heartbeat. But that, too, would take far too long and wouldn’t provide the immediate safety she and her children need.
Will you join me in helping Shaeli? She will provide updates, photos and video once she knows about this. (I can promise this because I know how she works!) I want to reach the goal and then announce it to her: that even those who’ve never had the honor of meeting her as I have, appreciate her hard work, determination, love and sacrifice for others. Timeline: ASAP. When your dear friend is in an unsafe situation, you don't wait to act.
Please feel confident in your donation. I’ve known Shaeli for years, and worked as the director of the US program that funds the children’s center in which she works. I’ve seen her with the children in Tanzania, met her children and have seen her be the first to help others without question or judgement.
The US organization even brought her here to Omaha, NE in 2014, to speak to groups and congregations about the children she serves. She stayed in my own home, spoke to so many people here and showed all of us what grace and gratitude really mean. She is a hard-working, kind-hearted and inspirational woman. She’s strong and determined, but she needs our help now.
Above: Shaeli and I together in the US. I worked with her in Tanzania, and hosted her in my home when an American organization brought her here for a month to talk with groups and congregations about the children she serves and saves. She’s an inspiration, and a woman who deserves, like all women, to live free from violence and in peace.
We all wish we could change the lives of women in societies where living in an insecure, even dangerous environment is something they must just survive and cannot change.
Here is a chance, for a small amount of money, to give this real, known, hardworking woman the life-changing freedom to live in a home of her own, to have peace and safety always. Let’s show Shaeli the love and protection she has shown so, so many without ever asking for anything in return!
Together, we CAN give Shaeli and her children the gift of a safe place to live without fear or danger!
- Nancy Humphrey
- Christel Anderson
- Mary Jo Huelle
- Jennifer Hardin
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