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Zawadi’s hope


Zawadi was born without the use of one of his arms, and he walks with a limp. When he was a child, Zawadi was prevented from attending school because of his physical disabilities. Despite the cultural stigma in Tanzania that was attached to having a disabled child at that time, his parents viewed his birth as a blessing. They named him Zawadi, which means “gift.”

Lemsanya and Kristen Tisho serve with TMS Global in Tanzania and direct Berega Orphanage. Berega was designed as a unique orphanage. Each child who lives at Berega must be accompanied by a “binti,” or caregiver. Often, the grandmother or older sister of an infant comes to live at the orphanage. Children are allowed to stay at Berega until they are three years old.

While living at Berega, bintis learn about nutrition, good hygiene, farming methods that use less water, and how to care for children. Kristen leads classes to teach the bintis a trade, and she teaches a literacy class in Swahili. She also provides spiritual mentoring for the caregivers.

Lemsanya and Kristen recently received a grant to start a dairy farm at Berega. They purchased goats and will use the milk to make and sell cheese. The profits will fund projects for the bintis and pay for building maintenance on the orphanage.

Lemsanya hired Zawadi to care for the goat herd. “Zawadi is one of the hardest workers I've met,” said Kristen. “He's never allowed his physical disability slow him down in spite of cultural factors that have worked against him his whole life.”

Zawadi is usually paid a fraction of what other men in the village make for the same job, but now he’s earning twice what was he was making before. He uses the money to support himself and his aging mother.

“Zawadi was chosen and hired for a position that everyone in the village would have liked to have,” said Kristen. “He finally feels that he is valued, and his work ethic and dedication have been recognized.

“Zawadi now knows something that God has always known—that he has value and is of great worth. The rest of the village is seeing that too. Zawadi has hope.”