KANSAS CITY, Mo. — School was not easy for Ashura Mwenitanda after coming to America at just 12 years old.
“Like the first time I go to school, I really cried cause you know that I’m new, I don’t know English. A lot of people used to laugh at me, just look at me like crazy,” said 17-year-old Mwenitanda, an immigrant from Tanzania.
Five years later, now 17, she’s thrilled to see her siblings happy to go to school, and with new supplies, thanks to the work of Grace United Community Ministries.
The ministry helped more than 20 families, giving away over 100 backpacks with supplies.
“It feels really good,” Mwenitanda said.
“It is culturally rich, economically fragile and so with that, we know that many children go to school and they may have been missing some of those crucial things that they need. All of those help to make for a great educational experience,” said Jesse Barnes, Executive Director of Grace United Community Ministries.
Mwenitanda said the donations mean so much to her because it’s a tough job for her parents to do it all, especially as immigrants.
“I came here to pick up the stuff because even my parents work, they don’t have a lot of money, you know, they have to pay the bills, whatever, you know. So we don’t have a lot of money to buy the back-to-school stuff,” Mwenitanda said.
However, with school just a few days away, she said she is more than ready to send her siblings off with more than just a mask.
“It just feels good because they have some stuff and it’s old and then having new ones, it feels good,” Mwenitanda said.