Melody did not feel good about herself. Her mom noticed when her grades started dropping and she no longer wanted to go to school. At the tender age of 10, all Melody wanted was to fit in with her peers, but she says she felt different.
Melody is different. She is the child of a prisoner, and in countries like Zimbabwe it is shameful to have a parent in prison. Families like hers are often cast aside by their communities and to make things worse, they often cannot afford life basics such as food, shelter, and clothes—let alone school uniforms.
Melody did not have a school uniform, and this made her stand out even more.
“Without a uniform, I don’t feel like I belong,” she said.
For children like Melody, a school uniform can mean the difference between loneliness and a sense of belonging—something Melody desperately needs at this critical time in her life.
The Children of Prisoners Program staff in Zimbabwe encourage the continued education of each child in the program, which includes providing support for school supplies and materials, including uniforms. They provided Melody with two dresses, two pairs of socks, and a pair of shoes for school.
Melody was humbled and grateful. She knelt in thanks as she received the package from Prison Fellowship Zimbabwe.
“Thank you so much,” she said. “Go and pass my gratitude to others!”
Melody now feels much better about herself and can be seen at school happily chatting and playing with her classmates. The gift of a simple uniform has helped Melody see something she couldn’t see before: a future.
“The sky is the limit!” she says.
That’s the difference a uniform makes.
Give Now to Provide Uniforms for Children Like Melody
For many girls in India, education is still a luxury. Girls are often pulled out of school to help care for siblings and do housework—preparation for married life, which is often viewed as their ticket to financial security and stability. If they are lucky enough to continue on in school, the cost of books, uniforms, and transportation provide a further limitation to their education. But 14-year-old Deepa is receiving and education and so much more through Prison Fellowship International’s supporters!
Deepa was disappointed—as she is every year—when her teacher announced a class field trip. She knew her mother could not afford to pay the $11 (USD) fee.
Deepa brightened when her teacher and three friends surprised her with enough to pay for half the trip. But her smile faded when she quickly realized even $5.50 was too much for her poor family.
“So I told [my friends] ‘Forget about me, you all go’,” says Deepa.
Then her mother received an unexpected call from the bank, letting her know Deepa’s $15 educational allowance from the child sponsorship program had been deposited into her account.
“My mother is very strict with that money,” says Deepa. “It’s only for my tuition and educational materials. “My teacher struggled to [finally]convince her the excursion was also part of my study.”
The event helped Deepa bond with peers who once looked down on her because her father is in prison—an important experience in building her confidence and a healthy sense of self.
“It changed everything in my life. I got many friends. I remembered my father, who is in prison, at that time. I wanted to tell him that I was no longer a prisoner’s child only—I have plenty of sisters and friends who love me, too.”
“This happened because of you dear [supporters]. Thank you! And thank you to God!”
“Deepa’s story is an amazing testimony of why giving children the chance to go to school and attend fun social events can dramatically change their relationships, their status, their sense of self-worth, and their outlook on life,” says International Director of the Children of Prisoners Sponsorship Program Adam Hutchinson. “It’s evident of what I call a ‘God smile’—those moments when God makes stuff happen that brings someone joy. This is Deepa’s God smile.”
Prison Fellowship International helps ensure families have adequate support at home, and provides access to educational resources so children can stay in school and work toward a better future for their own families.
There are so many more children like Deepa; consider giving a small gift to ensure they can stay in school. As little as $15 is enough to pay tuition for one month of school.
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