Maria is a six-year-old little girl in grade one in Mozambique who recently received her very first gift… a pair of shoes, the first pair of shoes she
has ever owned or been given to wear.
Maria’s father died when she was a year old, and when her mother re-married, her stepfather refused to have her in their home, so as a toddler she was given to her grandparents to look after. Her grandmother works as a volunteer cook at the school Maria attends and her grandfather is a subsistence farmer.
The family has very little and finding food to eat is a daily struggle.
Although Maria is only six years old, she has spent most of that time struggling with hunger, and access to fresh, clean water. Clothing has also been
difficult to come by, as has any medical attention she might need.
In Mozambique, parasites and fleas are constant pests that plague children, particularly if there is poor personal hygiene because of difficulty
getting fresh water, or if the children don’t have shoes.
Little Maria was no exception and when the JAM International team visited her school, her feet were covered in painful open sores. Although her
grandparents were aware of her condition, they could not attend to the wounds on her feet due to financial constraints.
Maria, along with many other primary school children at her school, received brand new shoes and two pairs of socks through the JAM International program.
This was the first gift and the first pair of shoes Maria had ever been given. Her little face was overcome with emotion as she tried her new shoes on and her grandfather, who attended the school for the presentation of the shoes, was grinning from ear to ear with delight.
Maria and her mom in their homestead
For many people reading this article purchasing a new pair of shoes is relatively run of the mill, but for little Maria in rural Mozambique her
new shoes are a gateway to health and to comfort she hasn’t known so far. For Maria, her shoes are about kindness, generosity and dignity.
Thank you to every person who empowers JAM to give children like little Maria the necessities they need.