Meet Mini Maureen

Words by Sr Gio Tosi, February 2023

Maureen, kindy student 2023, with her mum, Zione

This is the story of Maureen, a new student at our Bakhita nursery school.

Maureen is the last born of Mama Zione, a physically challenged lady.

Our teachers met Zione a couple of years ago, before the Covid 19 pandemic at the marketplace, where she was earning her living by selling charcoal, being a single mother.

She was there with her last born, Maureen, a very cute child, just one year and a few months old. They felt sad to see the child with her near the charcoal, but Zione told them she has nobody to leave the child with when she goes to the market.

She told them her story, that her father used to do the same with her when she was small. When Zione was young, her own mother had left the family because of Zione’s feet and hands being deformed, so the father was taking her with him every day to the same market, to sell charcoal.

The teachers promised to visit her again, and invited her to take care of Maureen and to bring her to the nursery school of the sisters when she gets a bit older.

Zione was very thrilled by that invitation. She told them she knew how to read and write, and that she wanted her child to have a chance for education. She said she will not forget, and she promised to take good care of Maureen.

Zione and Maureen disappeared from the market during the Covid 19 pandemic. They could be seen around, but no more selling charcoal.

At the beginning of this scholastic year, Zione came with Maureen at our nursery school.

Teachers recognized her and were very happy she had remembered and kept the promise. But Zione excused herself that she could not leave Maureen because she had no money for the fees, because during the pandemic her charcoal business could not continue. Now she has no capital to restart selling charcoal. She actually lives with the help of many people in the market who knew her father and feel sorry for her situation and for Maureen. She does not have a house for herself; she is hosted by a friend of her father, near the market, in a small room with Maureen. She is grateful, because the man does not make her pay for the room. But she struggles to find food every day.

So Maureen started coming to the nursery school. She is a very happy child and immediately felt at home with the other kids. The mother is very happy that Maureen is in school. She brings her every day, and she is proud of her child’s progress. She says Maureen can now count 1 to 10, say “calendar”, speak a few words of English, and knows new games and has new friends.

Above all she is grateful to all those who support her child and many others, and give them chance to learn, porridge during the day, uniform and shoes…

She has no other words but THANKS!!!