Anthony is worried he’ll have to drop out of school

Anthony is worried he’ll have to drop out of school

Anthony (16) with his mother Matrida in Nyaronga, Tanzania.

Surviving on just one meal a day, Anthony dreams of more.

Anthony is just a teenager, but he carries a huge responsibility – caring for his sick mother and trying to make sure they have enough food and medicine. The youngest of nine children, 16-year-old Anthony is the last child at home. His mother Matrida has complicated health issues and must rest, so Anthony takes care of all the household duties.

“I normally wake at six in the morning. Before going to school, I have to walk for 20 minutes to fetch water. Then I help my mother with chores to make sure that the house is in order. Then I walk a kilometre to school,” says Anthony.

Without a stable income, Anthony and his mother can only eat one meal a day. They are surviving on the generosity of neighbours who sometimes give them maize and beans.

And Anthony gets a cup of porridge at his school to help keep the hunger pangs at bay. But he’s worried he won’t be able to stay in school much longer.

When Anthony needs to buy pain medication for his mother, he has to find a way to earn some money. He looks after people’s livestock and on market day, he stands guard over crops and livestock for businesspeople attending the market.

It’s a lonely life, filled with hunger the weight of responsibility a child shouldn’t have to bear.

“My sisters are married not because they wanted, but because of this hard life. My brothers are with their families. My mother and I are on our own,” he says.

Like most mothers, Matrida hopes for a better life for her son.

“Anthony has a dream of becoming a policeman like his father was,” she says. “He never had a chance to meet his father in person. He moved out when Anthony was 2 years old.”

Right now, your kindness is reaching children like Anthony in Nyaronga. Your love and care will help struggling families to find ways to grow more crops and earn more income so that children no longer go hungry. With you by their side, kids like Anthony can build a brighter future.