Cecilia's life is a shining example of the difference a church can make. A partially blind Gogo (grandmother) in her seventies, Cecilia's only carer used to be her ten-year-old grandson, Ralph. Her two sons suffer from mental illnesses, and are unable to look after themselves. Cecilia was exhausted and destitute. But then the church reached out.
Cecilia’s family live in a small rural community in Zimbabwe. Life has been hard for them. Hard to make ends meet. Hard to face the challenges of living with failing sight or mental health issues. Hard for a ten-year-old who should be playing and being a child, but is responsible for cooking and cleaning, for looking for firewood and for fetching water from five miles away. Ralph tells us: ‘I can cook. I cook sadza [a staple food in Zimbabwe – a kind of maize porridge] and relish.’
Being his grandmother’s eyes
Ralph takes good care of his grandmother – he’s her eyes and he’s the one who made sure Cecilia and her sons were wearing masks to protect them from coronavirus when our staff went to hear their story of how, through Tearfund’s local church partner, Cecilia and her family have been able to find some relief.
‘I have appreciated the church in a big way,’ says Cecilia. ‘They have shown me so much love. They have visited us, and remembered us in an amazing way.’
Our local partner helped provide funds for a house for Cecilia, and members of the church helped do the building and bring meals to the family.
On top of this, the family now has the help of Pretty.
Trained by our local partner, Pretty is now a family volunteer in the community. She works with five vulnerable families – including Cecilia’s – visiting them each month and helping them to improve their lives.
When Pretty discovered that Cecilia’s sons’ mental conditions could be managed through medication, she began to coordinate efforts within the community to pay for their medication. Every evening, Pretty goes to Cecilia’s home to assist the sons with taking their medication, and since she started administering injections to them, their lives have improved greatly. One of the sons is now able to bathe himself and carry out other household chores.
During Pretty’s visits, she helps clean the family’s house and washes clothes for them. She has also encouraged the community members to donate clothes for the families she is visiting.
‘I am grateful for all your help,’ shares Cecilia.
Please join us in thanksgiving for how the local church has been an answer to prayer for families like Cecilia’s.