|For a child, the wait for sponsorship can be excruciatingly long. The reality is that resources are still as limited today as it was then. While we have mitigated the poverty gap in one country, there are children in other countries still waiting. The difference you can make to just one more child through sponsorship is real.|
Click on the images above to read their stories.
|“I feel alone and left out whenever I see children with their mothers and wonder what life would be like with my mom around,” says Nica, with her head bowed. “There would be so much more love. I wish she was here to care for me and help me with my school assignments.”
Being motherless is the least of Nica’s concerns when her family struggles to survive daily.
Nica lives, eats, and sleeps with her father and three siblings in a house that is two metres by four metres. They do not have electricity or water. Her father, Sergio, earns money by scavenging for used glass, plastic bottles, and scrap metal, on his tricycle. His unstable income is at the mercy of the changing seasons. When it rains, it gets dangerous and difficult for him to scavenge, and he frequently falls ill in the summer when temperatures soar as high 36°C.
“There are times we don’t have food to eat because my father did not earn enough during the day,” Nica says.
Nica experiences motherly love through child sponsorship
Nica became a part of World Vision through its child sponsorship programme when she was 9. She was in Grade 1 then.
“It was a great help. My school materials were provided – notebooks, pencil case, shoes, among others,” says Nica, who is entering fourth grade this coming school season.
Last Christmas, her family was able to have some food prepared during the Noche Buena Christmas Eve celebration as she received a food package from her sponsor.
“Now, I feel that someone like a mother cares for me,” says Nica with a smile.
Even though she can no longer experience love from her late mother, Nica is happy she can experience it through the World Vision staff and community leaders she interacts with in her village.
“They tell me to take care of myself and not to stop studying. Every Saturday we have values formation and life-skills class. It’s my favourite activity!” Nica says with a smile.
There are other children like Nica in similarly difficult situations, waiting to experience hope and love. Keep one less child waiting, make room for one more.
|Lymon, 65, is the village headman of a village in Siakambizi, in Southern Zambia. Water had always been an issue for their village.
“We would walk six to eight kilometers from this point. We would fight animals — elephants, wild dogs, snakes and hyenas — along the way at night. We survived simply because it was not our time to die. We had no choice. We had to get water.”
The men would stand guard for the women as they fetched water from faraway streams. “We saw a man attacked and killed by an elephant,” says Lymon. The worst part was, the water they gathered was dirty.
“As a result of drinking the water we would get sick,” says Lymon. “Monkeys, elephants, and hyenas used the same streams as their bathroom and water source.”
Cholera hit the village hard from 1984-1985 and then again 10 years later. Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by contaminated food or water. It produces watery diarrhoea that can quickly lead to dehydration and death if not promptly treated. It is a frightening disease, like Ebola.
“The person with cholera purges and vomits,” says Lymon. “They become weak and dehydrated. Their skin becomes very dry. They become white and patchy. Death is quick.”
Lymon lost his uncle and his aunt to cholera. “I did not know what to do. I thought I’d failed as a chief,” he says. “People were afraid to bury a dead child. We got gloves to bury them. There was one funeral after another. Families avoided each other. They just stayed in their homes.”
No one is sure how many people died, but Lymon says that at least 10 were children. Then Lymon’s wife, Dorica, also got cholera.
“I continuously vomited and purged,” she says. “I had it for some time. It started in the night. I was admitted to the clinic for four days. I was weak and scared. I thought I might die. We didn’t know what it was at the time.”
As parents to a young son, the fear was doubled. “I was very scared,” she says. “My body was so weak. I was afraid my son would become an orphan. People were dying like animals.”
Clean water brings complete change
Something had to be done. Using funds from World Vision’s donors in the child sponsorship programme, work was started on a water tank in 2010. The borehole was mechanised so that water could be taken to 44 homes, serving nearly 900 people. Villagers would go from drawing dirty water from a faraway stream to having a tap with clean running water in their front yards.
Everyone in the village watched as World Vision water engineer Wallace turned on the tap at the headman’s house.
“Everyone was quiet,” remembers Lymon’s nephew Leonard. “When we saw the water coming out, that’s when we believed everything they’d told us. We asked Wallace to eat on behalf of all the people who had made this happen.”
“When the pipes were being put in, I doubted,” said Godfrey, 46, the deputy headman. “When I saw the water come out, I thought I was dreaming. I looked at people who were standing right next to me to see if they were real. Is this real,
“There is a lot of change,” says Godfrey. “We no longer struggle for water. We now have gardens. We are much cleaner. Personal hygiene was an issue. Even plates would be reused before they were washed. We had bathing schedules. Now we have clean clothes because there is water nearby.”
And cholera is no more. Lymon speaks right to World Vision donors, saying, “You’ve relieved us. You’ve relieved us from our troubles. You’ve relieved us from death!”
“I have a lot of respect for World Vision. They’ve done more than help us. They’ve saved us. They brought clean water. I now feel clean on the inside and the outside because of associating with World Vision. We have food because World Vision gave us clean water. Look at our houses now. We are better people now because of World Vision.”
Dorica, Lymon’s wife puts it simply: “We have not had a single case of cholera since World Vision. Our village has been saved from vanishing!
Children in many of our communities still struggle to get clean water. Keep one less child waiting, make room for one more.
|After 5 years of communicating through letters and cards, I finally had the opportunity to visit my sponsored child in Bohol Area Development Programme (ADP), Philippines. Although it has been a joy to see him grow over the years, visiting made me realise that beyond impacting a child, I was impacting a community.
Before the trip, child sponsorship was a habitual monetary transaction and I wasn’t particularly curious about the purpose or impact of my contribution.
The trip has helped me see that through child sponsorship, resources can be pooled together to provide dignity to a whole village! It helped me connect emotionally with my child.
With my personal interaction with the villagers in Bohol, I realised that sponsors met their needs and empowered them to be self-sufficient. They were so proud of their new enterprise of making ginger tea. I was deeply heartened to see the dignity that was provided through World Vision’s efforts to help them diversify their sources of income.
At the end of the trip, I asked myself, “Since I had the financial means to do so, why not sponsor one more?” Having seen the impact of my contribution, I chose to sponsor one more child.
Happiness can be very simple. For me, it means taking on just one more child sponsorship so I can end the child’s wait for education and for hope.
|“Before this trip, I had no idea how and what the monthly contribution of $45 does. I thought the money goes to the sponsored child. After this trip, I am able to better understand how World Vision’s programmes help the members of the community as well as the children reach self-sustainability. The programmes directly benefit my sponsored child and other children as well.
I’m very impressed by the passion and hard work by the ADP staff, school directors, teachers and the village head. These people involved in these projects are commendable! Because of that, I sponsored one more child from Thailand.”- Josephine Goh, Sponsor of 2 children from Myanmar took up one more from Bo Kluea after her trip in 2016
We met the Upajak family on our recent trip to Bo Kluea, Thailand. Pattarawadee, 6, is a sponsored child and we were curious to understand her life through this meeting.
We were quickly ushered to the back of their house where their greatest achievements lay – a self-made pig sty, frog pond, chicken coop, and a vegetable garden. These were the pride and joy of their family! Mr Upajak would gesture excitedly as he explained the process of raising his livestock. Although it was hard for city dwellers like us to fully comprehend him, we could totally sense his joy and passion in his smile. We soon learn from the field staff that life was not always like this for the Upajak family.
Mr and Mrs Upajak were rice farmers who struggled to make a living. After harvest, Mr Upajak would head to Bangkok in search for more work. Even so, they still did not have enough to survive.
As part of World Vision’s sponsorship programme, the parents received training in agriculture and received funding to jump start their livelihood projects. The skills and knowledge gained helped to diversify their income such that the family was able to grow enough food for their family and had surplus income.
Having benefited from the programmes, Mrs Upajak is now a member of the women’s committee and makes it a point to help other villagers too. Beyond the vegetables, World Vision had provided them with dignity and a chance to give back and help others in the community. Indeed it is a joy to celebrate and taste the fruits of their success with them!
|When the wait ends, what change does it bring? For a former sponsored child, Viet, the change in his life has rippled through his community.
“Four of us lived on a small plantation with two pigs and some chickens. My parents work from early morning to late night to provide us with food and education, but we struggled with their small income,” Viet started his story.
Born in a poor farming family in Hai Duong province, Viet’s childhood put him at a disadvantage compared to his peers.“Given my family condition, I never thought I could be accomplished or successful. When people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, a construction worker was always my answer.”
Then at age 7, Viet was selected for World Vision Vietnam’s Child Sponsorship programme. He got acquainted with his sponsor and with the guidance from World Vision staff, he gradually realised his potential and the world opened for him.
Viet continued, “My sponsor was my new friend who sent me letters and postcards during special occasion and my birthday. I realised what my life could be, and was encouraged to pursue my ambitions.”
“The programme made me joyful. I got to draw, sing, dance, and meet new friends. Over time, I realized it helped children and families like mine have better lives. I promised myself I would strive to become a helpful person, like the programme staff I got to know.”
Now a World Vision staff working to help other children, he shared confidently, “My dreams came true. I am proud and determined to share the valuable opportunity I once had as a vulnerable child in remote areas. I hope my efforts will contribute to the well-being of the underprivileged children in our country.”
Begin the cycle of restoration. Inspire another generation to live