Food aid gives loving mum a second chance
There’s a lot of uncertainty in Sheila’s life. But there’s one thing she’s sure of. Without food aid, she would not be alive today.
Sheila, who is HIV positive, is fighting a life-threatening illness as well as for her family’s survival.
Her husband left her some years ago, so Sheila is the sole carer for her son Evans, aged 12, and three older children. She’s also taken in her two-year-old nephew Nigel, whose mother is paralysed and unable to care for him.
In her village in Zimbabwe, the rains failed again this season, so she couldn’t grow any food. Before she started receiving food aid, made possible by compassionate donors to the Multiplying Gift Appeal, Sheila had no way to feed her family – and no way to stay healthy enough to care for them.
Sheila must take anti-retroviral medication to keep her illness in check. But she can’t take her pills on an empty stomach. The regular monthly rations of corn, oil, beans and cereal enable her to do this and also mean Sheila and her family have enough food to eat three meals a day.
Her gratitude for the caring Australians, whose generosity has helped to save her life, is deep and heartfelt.
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If it wasn’t for the food aid, Sheila believes her children would be “orphans and very destitute ... without any place to call home."
Sheila remembers the dark days when she was too weak to get out of bed. She depended on her oldest son Edmore, now 15, to bathe and feed her what little food was in the house.
“Before we didn’t have any way to get enough food. I used to beg from my neighbours for food and I used to depend on others.”
Sheila, mother of four
But now that her family is receiving food aid each month through World Vision’s food distribution program, Sheila has been able to regain her strength. “It’s enough,” she says. “I can now adhere to take the medication because I have food and I am now like other people who are not infected.”
Sheila’s a loving mum who’s grateful for the smallest thing that will make her children’s lives better, like a bar of soap to wash their clothes. Or the $7 she made from selling a chicken to buy Evans some new clothes.
She’s so happy that Evans is in school and can see the difference it’s making in his life. “I want him to be a clever boy and not a burden to others,” she says. “When he is with other children at school … he relaxes, he becomes just free.”
You can help make sure that families like Sheila’s have the food they need to survive. Please donate to the Multiplying Gift Appeal today.