A Tale of Two Girls

How the Golden Rule is Changing Children’s Lives

By Amanda DeWitt

Anotida Receives Meals at School

Meet Anotida. She lives in the slums of Zimbabwe.

She’s being raised by her grandma who not only cares for her, but also for Anotida’s mom, who is severely disabled and cannot speak. Her “home” is made of cardboard boxes and pieces of fabric.

The highlight of Anotida’s day is going to school — there she receives what is routinely her only meal of the day.

When you walk into the tiny school room where she learns, 63 little faces peer up from their desks. Just two years ago, they were faces that reflected malnutrition and neglect. Now they are healthy and eager to learn.

Providing this kind of support for these vulnerable children was the dream of another amazing person — her name is Colleen. She is the founder of the school Anotida attends.

Colleen Helps School Children Receive Meals

Colleen also grew up in the slums. She shares, “I know the hardships these children are facing because I was once that child.”

She was very young when her father passed away, leaving her mom and siblings destitute. When things became “really, really hard,” she was sent to live with her uncle.

Unfortunately, this only made matters worse for Colleen. Her uncle abused her, and she became pregnant. As a teenager she found herself with a newborn and no way to provide for him.

“I remember the challenges my son faced — the days we went to bed hungry,” Colleen says. “The days that my son would scream because he was hungry and I couldn’t feed him. I felt so helpless.”

With help from her mother — somehow — she made it through. She did not give up. In fact she determined in her heart that if her life ever improved, she would turn around and help others in her situation.

She made up her mind saying, I have to put a stop to this. I have to somehow find a way to help these children and their mothers.”

When Colleen’s son was only nine years old, she opened the first school for vulnerable children in her area called Graces of God. Now there are three locations, serving more than 300 children and their caregivers.

Because of Colleen’s determination and the “Graces of God” not only does Anotida receive a daily meal and an education through this school — she is also learning about Jesus and the Bible every day.

Unto™ staff members in Zimbabwe consider it a privilege to partner with Colleen in these efforts. They are so grateful for the meals faithful partners like you help provide.

Colleen shares, “I just want to thank Unto, which is the backbone of our ministry. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think this ministry would have been able to stand.”

Anotida is a great example of the impact each of us can make. Today, this once-neglected, malnourished little girl is thriving. She loves to learn and recite her Scripture verses every day. The gift of meals helped change her life.

Living by the Golden Rule

It would have been easy for Colleen to give up. But instead she chose a different path.

In so doing she lived out the Golden Rule: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

When we follow Jesus’ teaching, we reflect His kindness to those who need it most. We live out the entire essence of God’s law — sharing His hope with those who need it most. As the humanitarian ministry of Cru®, Unto partners with people like you everyday to serve people in more than 30 countries annually using simple and effective programs to express the kindness of Jesus.

Colleen and Anotida show us the difference just one person can make when we choose to treat others how we would like to be treated. We may not open a school, but we can all share kindness that changes a life.

How will you live out the Golden Rule today?

Provide a Meal — Change a Life

You can feed a hungry child for just 13¢ per meal!

Your help is needed to provide one million meals to hungry people over the next three months. Ministry partners are ready to distribute them to suffering people in eight countries — and share the eternal hope of Jesus with those receiving them.

Your gift of meals will relieve suffering, restore dignity, and reveal hope in the toughest places on earth!

Published February 26, 2020


Amanda is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Gift for Leadership, Kindred Spirit, and Christianity Today publications. She holds a M.A. in Media and Communication from Dallas Theological Seminary.