The Story of Two Orphan Girls… And You

Zulea and Zaina are two orphan girls living in deeply rural Changara, Kenya. Their father’s 2011 killing plunged their mother, Josephine, and their three siblings into bottomless poverty.

Financial pressures drove their once-contented mother to despair. Josephine took a desperate decision. She would illegally brew grain alcohol, locally known as chang’aa, a play on the word “milk” in their language. Then she would host underground drinking nights in her own home. Zulea and Zaina would witness drunken men wreaking havoc in their home, threatening them with abuse. The police regularly raided and confiscated their mother’s earnings.

The nightly horror in their home drove the young sisters to a neighbor girl, Madina, an orphan like them living with her devout mother, happy, but in abject poverty. Madina befriended Zulea and Zaina. Her mother welcomed the girls into her home.

Giving Brings Wealth

Madina and her mother, despite their own urgent need, shared meager food, scant belongings, warmth, love, and light with Zulea and Zaina. Madina took the girls to school with her. They loved it. They went every day for a month.

No schoolgirl’s family had enough food. But their hearts found a way. They arranged to bring Zulea and Zaina to their homes for lunch, each one in turn. They had little to eat themselves. They ate less.

Zulea and Zaina wanted to live right, wanted so with all their hearts. But Josephine’s situation remained dire. Her heart felt empty, confused. She had seen the loving-kindness her impoverished, widowed neighbor had shown her daughters. She had seen the new light of hope flickering back at her from her daughters’ eyes.

Josephine went to her neighbor. Help me. Console my heart. Fear God in my daughters and advise me. Madina’s mother reassured her, with empathy, with truth.

Zulea and Zaina washing dishes. Before they were sponsored by generous donors, they used to walk barefoot and would pull their clothes up to act as hijab.

A Start

The schoolteacher applied for the sisters to Zakat Foundation’s Orphan Sponsorship Program. Approved. Your aid made this possible.

But the story of your loving help does not stop there. No. This was a beginning.

Zakat Foundation local directors made sure to include Zulea and Zaina in every program, including their sports days. They insisted on including their mother, too. No judgment.

Josephine watched Zulea and Zaina laugh from their hearts at play with the schoolgirls. She witnessed their joy, their release. She saw the openhearted acceptance of them by their friends.

The other mothers insisted on bringing Josephine herself in to their play and fun competitions. Guess who won the women’s sprint!

After each event, Josephine retreated, far, alone. Every time, the other mothers retrieved her in the arms of joyous sisterhood.

Feeling loved when they joined the program in 2015.
Feeling loved when they joined the program in 2015.

Kindness of Strangers

The program ended with an awards assembly. Zulea and Zaina won awards, to the thrill of their friends.

Then Zakat Foundation’s local coordinators surprised Josephine beyond her dreams. They called her name before the crowd, thanked her for supporting her daughters’ desire for education and a virtuous life, and placed a large cash stipend from you for her family in Josephine’s hand. She was stunned speechless.

Josephine whelmed the coordinators in her arms and for five minutes wept uncontrollably. Who are these strangers near, these strangers far, who care?

Zulea with her school bag and supplies; the dairy cow, in calf, and bull in the background were purchased with Halima’s honest earnings that you empowered her to make.
Zulea with her school bag and supplies; the dairy cow, in calf, and bull in the background were purchased with Halima’s honest earnings that you empowered her to make.


Josephine would not accept a ride home that day. She wanted to sing, to sing out with her daughters, to rejoice in the praises of God. For their two-and-half-mile walk home, Josephine sang her heart out with her daughters, laughing, arms around them both. Zulea and Zaina could scarcely be happier.

But they became happier still.

Josephine entered her home. There was the distillery. There was the drinking ware. Then she destroyed it, destroyed it all – as if the Quran’s command to abandon alcohol had just come again.

That day, Josephine became Halima (the forbearing one).

She used your Orphan stipend to buy clothes and shoes for Zulea, Zaina, and her other children. To keep them in school. To feed them nutritious, wholesome food.

The magic of your donations did not end there. No. Zakat Foundation workers enrolled Halima in the Livestock Husbandry Program you fund, with the charity you gave for God, and He multiplied and multiplied. Your compassionate donations gave Halima two mating goats.

Halima – happy, healthy, food-secure – showing her stores of maize that she planted and harvested from Zakat Foundation of America support.

Coming at You

Blessings flowed. The goats bore two sets of twins, in one year. Some, Halima sold, buying a dairy cow with the return. Now she sells real milk, not chang’aa grain alcohol.

Halima’s neighbors esteem her, uphold her as an example, as she expands her herds, stores up food for the year, and earns a clean, consistent income.

Here is what Halima, the mother of Zulea and Zaina, says to you:
“I have no words to express my gratitude and feelings. Where this program has pulled me from, it is only Allah who knows. It is unbelievable! It is like a dream, a big dream. The program has put food on our table. The program has covered our nakedness. The program has boosted our self-esteem. The program has shielded us from immorality and social evils. Above all, the program has put a smile on my face and that of my kids. Thank you Zakat Foundation donors. Thank you.”