Tamara grew up in Kasisi. We’ve accompanied her to adulthood and today, she lives in Boston where she is fulfilling her dreams of studying international relations. The road to becoming this ambitious young woman was long and hard. When she was 4, her whole world came crashing down. Her mother’s sudden death caused her father to fall into a major depression that cost him his job and made him unable to care for his daughter. As a result, Tamara ended up in Kasisi. Here she met an inspiring woman, sister Mariola, who motivated her to keep going and never give up.
In Tamara’s own words:
“Kasisi became my home in 1996. This is where my brothers and sisters are. This is where I realized that family is more than blood ties, it’s the people who you love and who love and care for you. At Kasisi, I was no longer an orphan. I gained a real family and a loving mother – sister Mariola.
I’ve never met any woman who would be able to raise 250 children at the same time. There were so many of us with different needs, some bigger than others, but Sister Mariola did her best to respond to our individual needs and to give everyone an equal amount of love and care. She made sure we got an education. She did not tolerate complaining, or quitting when things got too hard. She understands the importance of education in creating a chance for a good future.
It was just as important to her that we develop our humanity, so she would often have us care for other children. At the time, we thought she was doing this to punish us. Little did we know that she was actually teaching us the most important things in life – love and care. Today, others appreciate how compassionate and caring I am. For this, I am thankful to my mom, sister Mariola.
I learned the most from her, however, when she didn’t know I was looking.
I heard her pray and knew there was a God I could trust and always talk to
I saw her prepare meals and bring them to us sick children and learned that we need to help and care for each other.
I saw her give food to the poor and learned to always help those in need.
I saw her feed our dogs, Fred and Maya, and learned to be kind towards animals.
I saw her hang artwork made by children, motivating them to create more.
I saw her make a delicious soup for me and learned that it is the little things in life that are the most special.
Today I know that children learn their most important lessons by observing you when you think they aren’t looking. Sister Mariola has always been the best example for me to follow, the mother I always wanted. Today, I would like to tell her: when you thought I wasn’t looking, I was watching you! You gave us a home, you loved us and taught us that everyone needs love.
My dream is to finish my studies, become independent and venture out into the world to help others. I want to be one of the many women who, just like sister Mariola, can change the world, even for just one person.”
Today, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, we wish all women the very best 💐- may you always be surrounded by the kind of love and support that can change lives 💕.
Today is also a great opportunity to honor the remarkable women of Kasisi. We’ve prepared a small gift for our sisters, a plate full of their favorite sweets: chocolate-covered plums 🙂. For our Aunties, the best present we can give them is an education voucher. The rest of our girls, big and small, would love it if you could support them by visiting the Kasisi Pantry.
Santa Claus never had it easy in Kasisi 😉 Over 230 children live here. Sister Mariola has already rushed to his aid and is quietly preparing presents!
Many of us still leave a free seat at the Christmas Eve table. Let one of our children sit at it this year (at a distance, but very much for real) and invite them to the table today!