Jun 14 2012

Naomi and her family in Tanzania get electricity

A dimly lit lantern used to be the only light by which 15-year-old Naomi, sponsored through CFCA in Tanzania, could do her homework.

This work strained her eyes, and she developed an eye problem that caused her to visit the hospital several times. She was forced to wear eyeglasses to help her sight.

Naomi, CFCA sponsored youth in Tanzania

Naomi, CFCA sponsored youth in Tanzania. This 2011 photo shows her finishing school homework.

Naomi’s father, who is a farmer, watched as his daughter suffered.

“I longed to get electricity in my home, so that my daughter would have an easy time studying at night,” he said.

Naomi’s family is not alone.

Local CFCA staffers estimate about 1,000 families in the Hope for a Family sponsorship program lack access to electricity. (CFCA serves about 2,000 sponsored children and aging friends in Tanzania.)

A family typically pays approximately $2 US a month, or 3,000 Tanzanian shillings, for electricity, according to CFCA staff members.

The lack of electricity meant that Naomi couldn’t iron her clothes and school uniforms with an electric iron. She had to use a coal iron instead.

“Using a coal iron was time consuming, and I risked burning my clothes,” she said. “The charcoal could also sometimes make my clothes or uniform dirty.”

Electricity: Light bulb in Naomi's house

The light bulb installed in Naomi’s house after her family could afford to pay for electricity.

Naomi’s father saved up money from Naomi’s sponsorship benefits to pay for electricity.

It took the family six years to save enough until they felt comfortable affording the monthly payments.

“Now I can do my studies without worrying about my eyes; I can iron my uniform and look smart,” Naomi said. “Besides, my parents do not have to worry about the money to buy kerosene, which is more expensive than paying the electricity bill.”

Naomi also said she would like to thank her sponsors, who have sponsored her since 2005.

“They have been faithful in ensuring that I get my sponsorship fund on a monthly basis,” she said. “I and my family will keep them in our prayers and thoughts always.”

Thanks to Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison in Kenya, for contributing to this blog post.

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