Hunger is threatening Hongera’s future

Hunger is threatening Hongera’s future

Hongera (13), Malangali community, Tanzania

Hongera wants to stay in school but every day is a challenge to survive.

Thirteen-year-old Hongera lives with her parents and her three-month-old baby brother in Malangali community. Her parents work hard farming maize and beans but their land has no nutrients left in the soil. They can never harvest enough to feed the family.

It means they can only eat one meal a day.

At 4 am, while it’s still dark, Hongera starts her daily walk for water. Every morning, she walks 6 kilometres to fetch water for her family. She walks alone to the river and carries the heavy, 20-litre bucket on her head, trying to run home so she can get ready for school.

Then she walks another 7-kilometres on an empty stomach to school. Hongera has to go the whole day without eating because her parents can’t afford to pay for school meals.

When the bell rings, students run to the school kitchen for lunch, but not Hongera. She stays in class reading books, trying to distract herself from the pain of her hungry tummy.

“Some days my friends will call me to have a spoonful or two of their meal, but that doesn’t always happen,” she says.

At 5 pm, Hongera begins the almost two-hour journey home from school. She has to cross two rivers to try and make it home safely before dark.

In the evening, Hongera collects firewood so she can warm the house and cook her only meal for the day – maize porridge and boiled beans. She does her homework by the light of the fire until it burns out and then she lays down her mat to go to sleep.

Hongera dreams of being a teacher but she worries about her baby brother. She is torn between fighting for her future and protecting him.

“I wish I could stay home and take care of my brother, but I want to go to school because I want to be a teacher when I grow up,” she says.

Right now, your kindness is reaching children like Hongera in Malangali with life-changing support. Your love and care will help farmers like Hongera’s parents learn new ways to grow crops, so they can improve their harvests, earn more income, and feed and provide for their children. Thank you for helping children like Hongera to build a brighter future.