Vaishali’s Smile

Vaishali’s smile goes from cheek to cheek and could light up the gloomiest of rooms. Her infectious enthusiasm pours out as she sings and dances around. These days she has plenty to smile about; not long ago, Vaishali’s existence was dim and hardscrabble. Since being accepted during 2018 as one of the nearly 2,000 children from 14 countries in Zakat Foundation’s Orphan Sponsorship Program, light now shines in her world.

Even at age 10, Vaishali knows she wants to become a doctor so she can help others like her and her family. Through her sponsorship, her education is paid for, and she’s doing much better in her studies because she goes to bed nourished rather than hungry. Her worries about her widowed mom, Rekha, and little brother, who is epileptic with limited intelligence, are eased.

Vaishali was 5 when her father died. Unfortunately, he succumbed to kidney failure due to heavy drinking. The money he made selling copper ornaments just barely kept his family alive and supported. Rehka married as a teenager, and although she was pregnant with her second child, she was forced to leave her husband’s home upon his death.

Until Rehka learned about Zakat Foundation of America’s Orphan Sponsorship Program, she tried to support her family selling the same copper ornaments that her late husband had sold. Not seeing a way out of poverty, Rehka and Vaishali were steeped in depression. With Zakat Foundation’s sponsorship, even Vaishali’s body language and way of speaking have dramatically improved. Spurred on by her English teacher, Vaishali has learned the English language to the point of fluency and is now teaching her mom.

The sponsorship stipend is paying for the 10-year-old’s education in one of the best schools in Hubli, the second-largest city in India’s Karnataka state, with a population of more than 940,000. Every day, she arrives by auto and can’t wait for classes to begin. Moreover, Zakat Foundation’s sponsorship provides better food for her and her brother, as well as all the basic amenities required for her schooling, such as clothing, books, and supplies. Even when her father was alive, Eid was never a festival that brought gifts to their home. But now, Vaishali’s joy during the holiday knows no bound.

Rehka used to be constantly worried for her children’s future.

“I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude to Zakat Foundation donors. We started receiving your support at our worst stage of life,” said Rehka as her gratefulness spilled out. “You have opened the door of a bright future for my daughter and your assistance gave hope to achieve my daughter’s dreams. I will never forget you and will always keep praying for you. Thank you very much for helping us. May Allah bless you with plenty of rewards in multiples of thousands and millions and billions for this world and the Hereafter.”