BRENDA MEIER KIMARO worked for Lutheran World Relief for 12 years, working closely with LWR’s Quilt & Kit Ministry for many of those years. Now, Brenda lives in Tanzania and serves as a trustee of ELIMAA School, a pre-primary school in the village of Kwa Morombo, outside of Arusha, Tanzania. EIMAA School provides education for students whose families otherwise could not afford to send their children to school. In this photo essay, Brenda takes us inside the workings of a quilt and kit distribution for the village of Kwa Morombo she recently helped to coordinate at the school.
Boxes of LWR Quilts and Kits await their recipients on distribution day. These boxes have arrived after being shipped overseas from LWR’s warehouse in Minnesota.
Each year, LWR’s partner organization in Tanzania, the
Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT), receives several large ocean freight containers from LWR, packed full of bales of quilts and cardboard cartons of kits, which they disburse in smaller shipments to a variety of ministries and social service agencies. We submitted an application to CCT for quilts and kits. When the application was approved, we arranged transport of the materials from Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, to Arusha — a journey of about 360 miles.
Families line up to receive quilts and kits. Prior to the distribution, we worked with community leaders called balozi,
who conducted a community census by going door-to-door to record the number of adults and children in each family and their specific needs.
Households of the elderly, disabled, widows and single mothers were prioritized to receive quilts and kits.
Children from the ELIMAA School hold their new kits. The school provides education and breakfast each day to children whose families could not otherwise afford to send them to school. Few people in Kwa Morombo are formally employed and many get by on meager earnings as day laborers, making it incredibly difficult to meet even the most basic needs for their families.
With such limited resources, education becomes more of a luxury than a necessity, and many children end up staying home instead of attending school. At ELIMAA, families are asked to pay only a very small fee each month for their child’s education, which helps cover the cost of providing the children with a big cup of warm porridge each morning.
All other expenses for operating the school — rent, salaries,
water, etc. — are covered by donations.
A young child hides a smile behind a quilt they have received. Each family received a voucher, which they used on distribution day to claim their tems. To wrap up the distribution, community leaders provided a detailed report to CCT explaining how the distribution went and t he impact it had on the community. This is a requirement so that CCT and LWR can monitor how
materials are used.
A delegation from the Women of the ELCA , who were visiting Tanzania at the time, were on hand for the distribution. The delegation of 13 women assisted with the distribution as part of their Women Building Global Community travel seminar, including making several home deliveries to elderly and disabled community members who were not able to attend the distribution event. The distribution not only provided for the physical needs of nearly 80 families, but also showed them there are people in the world who care for them and do want to help.
A woman holds the LWR Quilt she just received.
In this distribution, nearly 80 families in Kwa Morombo received quilts and kits.