Finding Acceptance in School

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In the rural outskirts of Harare, lives young Onias and his elderly grandparents. Onias doesn’t remember his parents. When he was only one year old, his father was sentenced to 37-years in prison for three counts of armed robbery, and his mother abandoned him for a new life in South Africa.

Though he was young when they left him, he is still profoundly impacted by his parents’ desertion. And his curiosity about them only grows with each passing year. Emotion pools in his grandparents eyes, spilling over, as they recall how painful it was to tell Onias the truth:

Before his grandparents took him in, Onias was an unwanted child of a prisoner.

His self-esteem plummeted and school performance deteriorated. His classmates scorned and teased him. He began to skip school and keep to himself.

“When the child sponsorship program was introduced to us at our school through Prison Fellowship Zimbabwe . . . we considered it an answered prayer for Onias,” says Mr. Thembo, his teacher.

Something as simple as a new school uniform helped restore Onias’s self-esteem. With tears running down his face, Onias explains, “[In my old uniform] I felt like I was being rejected by other students in my class, and there was nothing I could do to be like them.”

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“Because of his new uniform and new pair of shoes, Onias is confident, and on par with the rest of the pupils in his class,” says Mr. Thembo.

And for the first time in Onias’s life, he has friends in school.

Help a child like Onias build their confidence and self-esteem. 

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