This year marks the 12th time that the Lahash community has set aside March as Rice & Beans Month. By God’s grace, some of the children who were among the first to benefit from our collective efforts are nearly young adults! This month, we are taking some time to reflect on the obstacles these kids have overcome, and to look forward with excitement at their bright future ahead. Today we’re focusing on a girl named Maria…

Maria and her older siblings have been making their way through life as orphans in Dodoma, Tanzania, since 2009 when both of their parents died. Maria now shares a household with her older sister who has a child of her own. Being at such high risk as children did not set them up well for stability as young adults. Malnutrition, chronic health issues, and lack of sustainable income have been constant challenges. The loving and watchful program staff at Grace & Healing Ministry have cared for Maria and her family faithfully ever since she was first accepted into the Sponsorship Program as a little girl in 2011.

Grace & Healing Ministry staff tending to baby chicks at start of the project.

The chicken project at G&HM was developed with kids like Maria in mind, and Rice & Beans Month funds have helped to see it through all along the way. It took a long time to secure a piece of land, build a large chicken house with a caretaker’s room attached, and figure out the best practices for helping protect and care for the baby chicks so they would grow into thriving, healthy, egg-laying chickens. But all the efforts are worth it, because of how it now impacts Maria’s health as well as many other kids who have low access to food in their homes.

Now full grown, the chickens help provide increased nutrition.

Eggs are very portable and packed with nutrition, so they are a welcome addition to the supplemental food items that G&HM provides for Maria to use at home. Maria has also been enrolled in the nutrition program on site at G&HM for years. The combination of this support has helped stabilize her health and keep her progressing through school. She is now in her 4th year of secondary school, with hopes of higher education and studying law. Before receiving assistance from Grace & Healing Ministry, Lahash, and Rice & Beans Month, the outlook for Maria was bleak at best. But meal by meal, year by year, she has grown and gained strength in body, mind, and spirit!

By participating in Rice & Beans Month and sharing the money we save on groceries, we are helping Grace & Healing Ministry develop and expand initiatives like the nutrition program and chicken project that save the lives of vulnerable kids like Maria. What a joy it is to celebrate their growth and watch them reach toward their dreams!

Click here to donate and help provide increased nutrition for Maria and other kids across East Africa.
Thank you!