Freedom through a uniform.
It was so embarrassing. And, it was totally out of her control. As a young girl in Uganda, she was experiencing what every child goes through. At some point, your body begins to grow, and suddenly, you shoot up a couple inches in height, your feet leap three sizes, and your clothes don’t quite fit like they used to. And, well, this is exactly what Clarisha was going through. She was also dealing with her family’s income. Her mom was earning as much as she could by selling charcoal each day, but things were tight.
Clarisha couldn’t stop her growth, and she wasn’t in control of her family’s financial situation. So, even though she needed a new school uniform, she couldn’t afford to get one.
So she was stuck with a uniform that didn’t fit. She was constantly pulling it down, trying to shift the fabric around to cover her body, to somehow stretch it to make it fit in the way it was supposed to… the way it did before she began her growth spurt. Of course, Clarisha knew that wearing this too-small, too-awkward uniform was NOT her choice. She begged her mom to buy her a new one, but her mom refused because putting food on the table was way more important for their family. However, other people in the community didn’t know the “why” behind Clarisha’s clothing choices. As she walked to school, she would often hear comments from men as she passed them on the roads. They thought she was intentionally dressing in a way that didn’t cover her body in order to get attention, so they would call out to her and hit on her. She wasn’t comfortable or confident in these circumstances. She was also self-conscious when interacting with her classmates, especially when they had uniforms that DID fit them, and she didn’t. Having a high self-esteem is a tough battle for any girl her age, but hers was at rock bottom.
But then, after a long time grappling with the factors out of her control, Clarisha was gifted a new set of uniforms. She got two new uniforms, sportswear, and a sweater sized and fitted just for her through funding from The Hope Venture. Simply just having clothes that fit her revolutionized Clarisha’s world. She now walks with ease to and from school, clear of comments about her clothing from men. She can interact with freedom and confidence with her classmates at school. She has peace and joy because she doesn’t feel shame for what she’s wearing anymore, but instead can come to school with dignity. She can focus on her schoolwork instead of her clothes, and focus on achieving her dream of becoming a surgeon.
Clarisha had a need. And it was met. This reminds me a lot of one of our foundational scriptures here at The Hope Venture:
“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:15-17 NIV.
It’s a beautiful thing to see this scripture lived out as a reality through Clarisha’s story. She was in need of clothes, and through The Hope Venture’s partnership with Dr. Emma and Passion Christian Ministries, YOU were able to actually DO something about the need and provide uniforms for her. How incredible is it that we have a God who loves us so much, and we can share His love with others by helping provide for tangible needs, like a school uniform. It’s such a simple way that we can live out and act on our faith in a God who radically loves us, and who cares deeply for all people all over the world.