From the mouth of babes

From the mouth of babes

It’s the holiday season again, a time to be thankful. This year we know it might be harder than usual, we know many of you have experienced loss and hardship during the pandemic. The Small Things and the children and families we support have also struggled, and funding remains a huge challenge as we go into 2022.

And yet I am still, personally, deeply grateful. We are still here and I can already see the excitement of the children as the holidays approach: the giggles, the huge smiles, the sparkle in their eyes… and it’s all thanks to your support, the spark that changes the world for a child here in Tanzania.

I’ll tell you more about what your donations mean shortly, but as I sat here trying to work out how to put it into words, someone nearby told me they had something to say (he really did!). How could I refuse?

Hello. For those who don’t know me, I am Simon, also known as Saimoni. I am the son of Bekka Ross Russell, my mom met me when I was two and adopted me when I was just five years old. Now I am 13. All the TST kids are my brothers and sisters, and we grew up together. You hear from my Mom every year, so I thought maybe you guys would like to hear from me this year.

When I go up to TST’s site at Happy Family Children’s Village, I see so much love. First, I see the daycare and preschool, I see how the teachers are always engaging with the kids and making sure they really understand and love learning

I see the mamas, how the mamas are always taking care of the kids, making sure they have everything they need, making sure they are happy. Sometimes they fight, like any siblings, but overall there is always joy in the houses at the children’s village.

I see the student teachers, who are always with the kids, helping them with homework – they even take time out of their own breaks to hang out with the kids. I see kids from the local community getting free tutoring on the weekend, or help preparing for secondary school. Even if you aren’t a kid at children’s village, TST is open to you, to help get you wherever you need to go.

When I see the reunified kids, it always brings joy to my face, my friends’ faces, the staff’s faces – even when reunified kids go home, it doesn’t mean they’re forgotten. TST always helps them with classes and school fees, whatever they need.

When people give money to help my friends, even a hundred bucks might pay for one of the kid’s food for four whole months. You don’t have to give thousands of dollars to make a difference, although that would be great too! It’s the small things in life that matter. Thank you so much.

Thank you Saimoni! And he is right – your support makes all the difference.It can be the spark which supports a family desperately trying to stay together in difficult circumstances, by helping them purchase livestock or attend business classes that lead the way to financial security. It can spark lasting change by funding a child’s preschool or library books, the education which is a foundation for their whole life. It can spark safe childhoods for children who are in full time care due to medical needs or histories of abuse and neglect. Better yet, your support can spark happy reunions in families where this is safe and possible.

We are so grateful for what you do already, enabling us to be here for a child or family if they come to us for urgently needed help. This year we celebrated 10 years of changing the world with you, our most important friends and supporters. Frankly, we are also celebrating surviving another very difficult year. Thank you for being a spark of hope – because a spark can lead to big change.

If you are also feeling thankful and want to give a little more back to the world, I can’t deny we need it. The funding crunch caused by COVID will affect us for some time, so if you feel you want to spark a new change right now, take a look at our Season of Sparks page which shows 28 ways your money can change lives. For example, just $50 feeds a child nutritiously for a whole month, $75 helps a family stay together by providing support to a child, while $1,500 could fund our lifeline day care for a whole month. Maybe you could even buy one of these contributions as a gift for someone?

But if you can’t provide extra support for any reason, please know that you have already done so much for us and we are profoundly grateful. Thank you on behalf of the children we serve and the many families who will have already thrived with your help. I am so happy you are part of our family!

With enormous love,