Simple gifts that bring light to a family in need

The story of Mathayo and his family in Tanzania shows how access to basic resources, like agricultural training and farm animals, can help lift an entire family out of poverty. This Christmas, you can honor a loved one by donating a life-changing gift in their name through the World Vision Gift Catalog.

Story and photos by Adda Amos Ngoya, World Vision Tanzania.
Published November 14, 2012 at 12:00am PST

“World Vision works,” says Mathayo Ayo, a farmer from the village of King’ori, Tanzania.

Like much of Africa, King’ori is prone to drought and has experienced a long dry season for three years in a row. World Vision’s work there has focused on building a strong community-based response to the parched conditions.

At Mathayo’s house are three children, including PrayGod, 11, and Clara, 6. The two little children look healthy and have sharp minds. A third child, Ebenezer Mathayo, 10, is not home.

Mathayo recalls the poverty that once affected his community. “Ten years ago, I was in the darkness, [and] I didn’t know a lot about development,” he says. “World Vision has brought the light to us through trainings.”

Coming alongside families in crisis

In this region, World Vision has supported communities to ensure that children can simply enjoy being children.

Mathayo’s family, for example, has received help paying school fees and establishing food security despite the lack of rain. Mathayo says that this became possible when World Vision provided drought-resistant seeds and trained local farmers on good agricultural practices.

“Before I got training from World Vision, I was planting without knowledge,” he says.

Now, Mathayo cultivates maize, beans, millet, and sunflowers on his three acres of land.

Also thanks to World Vision’s presence in his community, Mathayo learned entrepreneurial skills and received a dairy goat. By expanding his farming activities, he was able to acquire three more goats of his own.

A better life and new hope

Mathayo’s training and improved access to resources has brought promising results. “Before I started applying good agricultural practices, I harvested three bags of maize, but now, I get 10 to 12 bags of maize,” Mathayo says.

He adds that the 12 bags are enough to give his family food until the next harvest. Clara, his daughter, confirms that she isn’t going hungry. “I eat three meals every day,” she says, adding that she enjoys having milk from the goats to eat with her porridge.

Healthier food has changed the lives of Clara and PrayGod.

PrayGod, who is in fifth grade, has been performing at the top of his class in his exams. Meanwhile, Clara is able to count numbers in English at the age of 6. Both help out with chores at home.

“After school hours, I help my father to feed goats, and give them water,” says PrayGod.

‘This is because of World Vision’

The children live full, productive lives because their needs are met. “I am happy because my father buys me a new school uniform and pays for my school fees,” says Clara.

Mathayo is proud of his children and is working hard to continue supporting them. “I thank God for blessing me with bright children, and I feel motivated to support them,” he says.

“Being an ordinary farmer, I am now able to cater for my family needs. This is because of World Vision.”

Ways you can help

This Christmas season, World Vision’s Gift Catalog offers more than 100 ways by which you can honor a loved one and provide life-changing help and hope to a child, family, or even entire community.

Give the gift of a goat to a family like Mathayo. Goats nourish hungry children and families with healthy milk, cheese, and yogurt. They also give a much-needed income boost by providing offspring and extra dairy products for sale at the market, as well as fertilizer to improve agricultural production.

Give the gift of tools, training, and seeds. To support their families, farmers in the developing world like Mathayo must get the best possible crop yields. Your gift provides families with things like hoes, harvesting equipment, fertilizer, and irrigation kits, plus training in improved farming methods and fast-growing, drought-resistant seeds.

Or, browse the catalog and select an item of your own that can be used to honor someone special in your life this Christmas.