Ploughing Ahead with Hope
Mr Pegu, a father of four children, lost his entire paddy field when it got submerged in a flood. It was devastating to lose all his belongings and his source of livelihood, and it was a tough time for his family.
“Our house and paddy fields were submerged for a month. Thankfully, World Vision India was with us in our time of emergency,” he says. His family received 1.5kg of mustard seeds, which he cultivated. He also pooled resources with his neighbours and together, they were able to reap 800kg of mustard seeds to sell in the local market.
With this income, he was able to recoup his losses from the flood. “I bought rice for the next season, paid for my children’s school fees, bought clothes for my family and furniture for my house,” he says.
An Education Worth Pursuing
For the last two years, 9 year old Sungkhom was not able to learn as much as she wanted to. “I used to ask my parents to buy storybooks for me to read at home, but they told me that they do not have enough money and asked me to read the books in school or borrow from my friends,” she says. Unfortunately, the books in her school were very old, and some of them were even unreadable. Her friends did not have books of their own either. Sungkhom desperately wished she had books as reading allowed her to learn more.
Thanks to the support of donors in Singapore, World Vision Laos was able to provide Sungkhom’s school with new storybooks. Besides helping families save cost on school materials, children are more motivated to attend school as lessons are more interesting and they are able to learn much more.
Health Education Saves Lives
Ms Vu, 28, was often worried and stressed as her daughter, now 7, was in poor health. “I feel so sorry for letting this happen,” she says. “I did not have the knowledge to provide better care for my children.”
When she was pregnant with her second child, she was invited to join a health club. But because the distance from her home to the meeting location was very far, she stopped attending once her son was born.
This changed when her son turned 7 months old. He was often ill, and Ms Vu decided that he could not go on like this. She returned to the health club and there, she learnt about feeding her children iron-rich food, caring for sick children, preventing injuries and more.
As time passed, she began to see marked improvements in her children’s well-being. This spurred her on to continue attending health club meetings. She also enthusiastically shared what she learnt with her husband. With the support of World Vision Vietnam, another health club was set up in the community, so more mothers can benefit from better maternal and child health practices.
Safe and Secure
For 11 year old Zhengdong, danger was always a hairsbreadth away. His community in Yongsheng, China, is prone to extremely unpredictable weather like flash floods, which make the dirt roads treacherous.
“I don’t dare to go to school without my parents during the rainy season. I once saw an adult who was riding a motorcycle get flushed down by the rushing water,” says Zhengdong.
Unfortunately, it was the only way for him and his classmates to get to school. Being washed away by the flood waters was a real fear, and many parents chose not to send their children to school because of this danger.
When World Vision helped to build a footbridge for the community, things changed for the better. Besides making it safe for children, parents are also able to harvest crops successfully and no longer have to worry about their kids.
Now that he is able to pursue his education in safety, Zhengdong looks to his future in confidence.
Paying it Forward
Apolinario, now 16, was a very hardworking high school student – but not in the usual sense of the word. He was born into a disadvantaged family in Bohol, Philippines, and had to do odd jobs around the neighbourhood in his spare time to supplement his family’s income. His father, a carpenter, was the sole breadwinner and only earned S$12 a day to support his wife and 11 children. Their finances were stretched to breaking point.
Despite having to balance work and studies in high school, Apolinario has managed to become valedictorian. On top of that, he won awards in Best Leadership, Best in Filipino, Best in English, Best in Mathematics, Best in Computer Studies, Best in Public Speaking, Most Cooperative, Most Responsible, Most Industrious, Most Respectful and Boy Scout of the Year.
All this was possible with the kind support of Apolinario’s sponsor and his two older siblings who helped pay for his school expenses. As a World Vision sponsored child, he received support to continue schooling and also benefitted from activities like life skills training and leadership development. This enabled Apolinario to stop working in his sophomore year, and allowed him to focus on his studies.
A Place to Call Home
It was the hardest decision she ever had to make.
Nul, 35, had migrated with her husband and six children to work as a vegetable cleaner at a market in Phnom Penh. Faced with a mountain of debt, she decided to encourage her five older children to beg for money on the streets.
“Every day, they begged from the early morning till midnight. Some days, I could not feed all of them and they caught the flu often because they did not stop even when it rained. The biggest regret I have is that three of my children dropped out of school,” she says.
Despite their constraints, Nul allowed her children to join outreach activities by World Vision’s Street Children Transformation Project. She also received help such as career counselling, potential family business assessment and family integration planning.
Over the weeks and months, through motivation and encouragement by World Vision and community leaders, Nul’s family was able to relocate to a village. They also received help in setting up a sugarcane business.
Take your pick from food packs to clean water systems that can save lives and transform impoverished communities. This season, give most-needed year-round gifts!