In last month’s GoodStoreys, Lafo Ndlovu, a TTH staff member in South Africa, shared about an impactful time at one of our partner feeding programs this past Giving Tuesday. If you missed it, you can read the story here.

The impact of the meals doesn’t stop at kids knowing that you believe in their futures. It goes even further. Read on for the continuation…

It was Giving Tuesday, and 40 kids, my husband Mzwandile, and myself were gathered under a tree at one of our partner feeding programs in South Africa. The kids had just spent the last 20 minutes asking questions, sharing about their dreams and aspirations, and attentively listening to one another. I had never been more proud of them than I was that day.

This past year, I have seen these kids step up in leadership, and not just at the after-school program. They have loved and supported each other through school and life. They have respected each other’s bodies and personal space by listening rather than fighting or bullying. We are so proud of the young leaders that they are and that they are continually becoming.
I didn’t know if I would have another chance like this, so I challenged the group with one last question:

“You say that some kids come because they need food, and some come because they know it’s safe because it’s not always safe at home. And you say some come here to make good friends, friends that help them with everything, right?

“What about the days this program isn’t running? The days you are not here? Do you know those kids who really need food? Who really need a friend? Who need a safe place to run to?” 

Some of the loudest kids went very quiet and there was a stillness across the group. I didn’t mention it to make anyone uncomfortable, but it felt right and it felt safe enough to keep going.

“No, Sesi Lafo, we don’t know.”

I continued, “I think our next challenge is maybe we can find out if one of our friends is one of those people and…”

The kids chimed in, “And then we can make sure we can try to help them on Mondays and Fridays!”

“And Saturdays and Sundays!”

“I can share my snacks!”

“I can go and help him with his chores!”

“We care too, Sesi Lafo!”

It was at that very moment that I looked around and saw the “after-meal” impact. 

It was a moment that encapsulated the past 10 years of growth. I could see the growth in their confidence, character, and unity with one another as well as the expansion in their worldview and their knowledge of what they can dream and aspire to. 
These kids have grown in awareness of who they are and the value of caring for their neighbour, and it gave me hope for the present and future generations. 

This is what I’m here for.

Because of people like you who are committed to seeing a world where every family has the opportunity to thrive, we have seen kids healthy and strong, graduate, become employed, build their own businesses, and continue to be evidence that dreams can be their reality. We have seen bullies become nurturing leaders and enemies turn into best friends. And on that hot November day, we got to see a group of 40 boys and girls commit to how they too can make a difference in their communities. 

Thank you for providing a basic human right to a generation that is full of world-changing potential. Thank you for being a part of this community and for investing and believing in their dreams and their futures. Whatever your reason for partnering with us – thank you for understanding that the meal is a vital start to the ‘‘after-meal,” life-changing impact.

Thank you for being the reason these kids can say, “We care too!”

by Lafo Ndlovu

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