From Tanzania to Iowa: How EveryStep Care & Support Services Helps Bring Hope to Furaha's Family

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Pictured above L-R: Laila, with Furaha’s mother, Asende, behind her; Furaha holding baby Sango; Dina; Demule; and Eliazere, holding Riziki. Furaha’s husband, Sango, was working and unavailable for the photograph.

Parents share a common wish. Across race, religion, socio-economic status and nationalities  – parents want the best for their children. Furaha and her husband want their children to have a good life, but in Tanzania that was hard.

“When we were staying there, people were suffering,” says Furaha. “Life in Tanzania was very hard. A human needs to eat food to survive. We were given very little food. It was a life of struggling.” Furaha remembers vividly how difficult it was to find clothing, and sadly remembers the sickness that crowded the hospitals. “There were too many people to be treated and so many deaths.” Furaha herself lost two children to illness in Tanzania – a boy and a girl.

When Furaha and her family were presented with an opportunity to come to the U.S., they didn’t hesitate. Settling in Des Moines, they found themselves with shelter and safety, but little else.

That’s where EveryStep jumped in.

EveryStep community health specialist Berenice Reyes helps Furaha and her family navigate their new lives. “I started working with this wonderful family in February of 2021, when Furaha delivered her baby girl, Riziki,” says Berenice, who showed the family where to find the local food pantry and places to get clothes and diapers.

Berenice also regularly checked in with the family and baby Riziki to ensure the child was growing and developing normally. Furaha became involved with EveryStep’s Stork’s Nest, where she earned incentives for her healthy behaviors. She received baby items, diapers, formula, clothes and many books by participating in healthy behaviors such as keeping medical appointments, WIC participation, breastfeeding and school attendance.

During this time, Furaha learned she was going to have another baby – a surprise, as she was in her second trimester when she learned she was pregnant. Berenice connected Furaha to OB care and in June of this year, a boy, Sango was born. Now Berenice checks in on his development.

“[Berenice] helps me very much!” says Furaha. “She gives me lessons about how to care for the baby and before that, how a pregnant woman needs to [be healthy].” But the support goes far beyond that. “EveryStep helps with whatever we may need! Berenice even brings books for me to read so I can practice my English.”

Furaha was looking forward to attending EveryStep’s Baby Bloom event on June 25, but one of her children was not feeling well. Again, Berenice stepped in, delivering the diapers and baby items that were given away at the event. “Furaha is a hard-working mother. I’m thankful EveryStep gives us the opportunity to provide education and help to our families,” says Berenice.

Furaha is grateful and hopeful.

“I feel like we are being held through our whole lives,” says Furaha. “EveryStep makes me feel happy and gives my mind peace. The future looks so good. It was bad, and now it’s so much better. I pray you won’t get tired of helping us.”

EveryStep won’t tire of helping Furaha’s family and the hundreds of other families assisted by EveryStep.

For more information about EveryStep Care & Support Services, call (515) 288-1516 or visit www.everystep.org/services/care-support.

If you or someone you know needs care or support, complete the confidential "Find Care" form at www.everystep.org/find-care. The form sends a message to EveryStep staff who then follow up with a phone call. It's a great way to start a conversation and get answers with no cost or commitment. EveryStep can connect the individual to its own programs and services that may be helpful, as well as services offered by other organizations and providers in the community.