Her eyes puffy and sore from crying, Josephina Sebastian from Tanzania tried to hold onto hope. She was the only one among her friends that owned her home. 
 
However, the home that was once her haven was now falling to pieces around her. She feared it would collapse as she and her seven-year-old niece slept.
 
Jemima, Josephina’s niece, was five years old when she began living with her aunt. Just as she had done for her children, Josephina did everything she could to make sure that Jemima felt loved and cared for.
Web_Version-CC-TZ030300441-15-2005.jpgJosephina with her children and her niece
 
“Jemima came into my life at a time when I did not have anyone completely depending on me. But despite my financial shortcomings, I knew I could take good care of her,” said Josephina. “I treated her the same way I did my daughters."

Web_Version-CC-TZ030300441-07-2005.jpgJemima wearing a yellow dress, is playing with her cousins outside their house in Tanzania.

However, her TSHS 5,000 (NZ $3.36) a day income meant there was no safety net if the unexpected happened.
 
“When Jemima broke her arm, I could not afford to get her an X-ray. I begged from my neighbours, but I did not get anything. So, I treated her myself by massaging her arm with warm clothes and praying.
 
God answered my prayers in healing her but seeing her in pain broke my heart and the fact that I could not help her made it worse,” she said.
 
Through the difficulties of life, Josephina took solace from the safety that her house provided. However, as the years went by, that safety was always under threat. Rain, wind, the sun, and termites ate through the mud and poles, leaving the family exposed and vulnerable. The constant cost of the repairs ate away of Josephina's limited income.
 
Life changed when Jemima was registered into the Child Sponsorship Programme at the local church. The support the little girl received meant Josephina could put the money she earned towards house repairs.

Web_Version-CC-TZ030300441-12-2005.jpg
Jemima playing outside her home.
 
“Our house started slanting and during the night you could hear the mud on the wall falling off in small bits. I feared for our lives because the house could easily fall on us while we slept."
 
With her income close to nothing, she went to Compassion (Tearfund’s partner) and told the staff about the state of her house. They immediately offered to help.
 
“The project director came and looked at the house and took some photos and told me to go to the office the next day. They gave me TSHS 700,000 (NZ $471) and asked me to rent a house while they looked into helping me to build a better house," she said.
 
“When I got back home that day, I told Jemima we will be moving. Then I cried, thinking of how God truly loves us. He always sees us through tough times.”
 
Josephina used TSHS 360,000 (NZ $242.21) of the gift as rent for four months and the rest of the money to purchase food.


 

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