Rather than face the embarrassment of showing up for school without proper clothing or a notebook in which to write, for months, Mercy* pretended to go to school, but instead spent her day hiding in the mountains. Mercy’s grandmother was doing her best to care for Mercy, but lacked the resources to provide for even her most basic needs. Mercy longed to be like other girls at school, but felt ostracized and alone with little, if any hope at all, that her circumstances would ever improve.

When Mercy’s situation came to the attention of Bopoma Villages’ social worker, Elsa got to work.  She located a relative  who is now providing Mercy and her grandmother with assistance. Elsa gently worked with Mercy to encourage her to return to school. She met with Mercy’s teacher to explain the circumstances and advocate for Mercy so that she would not be punished for skipping school.  Bopoma Villages worked with Mercy’s grandmother to help her obtain a birth certificate for Mercy,  to build a household garden to provide them with an ongoing source of nutritious food, and to teach her some simple but powerful strategies to avoid illness and disease. Mercy and her grandmother are receiving regular visits from volunteers from their village, and are part of a network of caregivers and orphaned children who meet regularly to support and encourage each other. Mercy is happily back at school.

For the first time in a long time, and perhaps for the first time ever, Mercy and her grandmother have hope for a better future.

*name changed