Working for World Renew, I get to meet a lot of incredible women.
Women like Mary Makaranga in Tanzania.
Mary is a development officer with one of our partner organizations. She is just one example of women being salt and light in a hurting world. She was recruited by her denomination’s youth department in 2003 to help communities to improve their health, particularly in relation to the high HIV and AIDS rates caused by the transient population in the region for the gold mining industry. Through the program Mary taught people how to prevent HIV transmission, how to support those with HIV or AIDS, and to adopt new behavior, habits, and attitudes towards those living with HIV and AIDS.
Mary’s involvement in the diocese quickly grew to include teaching local churches how to care for orphans, vulnerable children, elderly people, widows, and community members living with chronic diseases like cancer, TB, or disabilities.
Mary’s work now includes:
- teaching entrepreneurship and savings skills to around 400 small business owners.
- mobilizing 15 local churches and communities to take charge of their own development and future
- leading a team of 25 home-based care volunteers in providing health services and house visits in their communities. Each volunteer provides regular care to 20 to 30 households.
- overseeing the palliative care (homebound) program of the church.
- continuing community training in HIV and AIDS education and support for orphans, widows, and people living with HIV and AIDS. Each community may have more than 100 orphans or vulnerable children living among them.
Mary says one of the hardest things about her work is finding orphaned, abandoned, or neglected children. She has seen babies left alone all day while the parents go to the field to work, children with severe malnutrition, or children whose guardians no longer want them.
Mary has responded by taking in five children who were either orphaned or abandoned. Domitila was brought to Mary in 2010 because her parents died from HIV and her other relatives refused to support her. Domitila was 9 at the time but only weighed 9kg (20lbs)! People were afraid to look at her because she looked so sick. Mary took her under her care like a daughter. After three years of love, care, good food and medical attention, Domitila is now a happy healthy girl. The change is astounding. She is in grade 1 in school, is very independent and is even learning English. She said, “I am very happy living with Mary, and she is so wonderful to me.”
Domitila is a powerful example of Mary’s heart for service. Mary explains, “I have been called by God to help people like this because that’s what Jesus did. How could I stop doing this work when it is God’s? I will continue to serve the community and the hurting and lost like this until I die.”
It is a privilege for World Renew to work alongside and equip wonderful people like Mary Makaranga.
You can make this work possible through your financial gifts, prayers, and by helping World Renew tell the story to your audience. Sometimes I think people get tired of hearing about all the problems in the world. I urge you to help us spread the word that there are women like Mary who are making a difference in their own communities! We in North America do not have all the answers or solutions.
Sending material goods and money is easy, but then you miss out on being a part of this transformative work and getting to know stellar women like Mary.