Most do not fully understand how little material possessions people have that live in low- and middle-income countries around the world. When a letter comes in the mail from a child’s sponsor, she cherishes that letter greatly. It becomes a part of her. Eventually she knows it by heart. This may sound a bit exaggerated, but it’s true. I heard it for myself today.
Our fifth day in the Philippines took us back to rural Dulag, a little over an hour’s drive south of Tacloban. There we visited San Vicente Community Center where we met World Vision USA sponsored children, all of whom benefit from the goodwill and donations of caring, generous people.
With the upcoming holiday season, the children penned Christmas letters to their sponsors. I was surprised to see just how quickly each of the children knew their sponsor’s name and anxiously took to writing their personal Christmas letter. Once the blank cards were handed out, the children scattered across the center looking for somewhere, anywhere to write their holiday greetings and thanks to the United States where their sponsors live. And undoubtedly as each dropped their letter in the box to be sent off, I’m sure they thought about getting a reply letter from their sponsor soon.
What I saw today was that there is a real, genuine relationship between a sponsored child and her sponsor. People tend to be skeptical about the authenticity of the letters that the children send to their sponsor. It’s probably the number one reason more people do not sponsor a child. I can tell you with utmost certainty that the children do indeed write back.
By sponsoring a child with World Vision, an entire community benefits and improves. There is no one-to-one money exchange between a child and her sponsor. Rather, the money serves to better the community of which the sponsored child is a part. Even more importantly, sponsored children know that someone on the other side of the world genuinely cares about their well being as well as their future.
The children we met today are quite young and had an exciting day with their friends of writing Christmas cards, enjoying story time, playing a fun team game, reciting nursery rhymes, and having snacks. But when the children get older, that’s when they will fully appreciate the scope of being a sponsored child.
We met three young adults, Edward Cayobit, Nerissa Rivas, and Mary Jeane Advincula, who were sponsored children until they graduated college. When they recounted their stories to us about what their sponsor meant to them, it was very difficult for them to get through without crying, sometimes uncontrollably.
“It seems like they are second parents to us,” said Nerissa Rivas, 24, in broken English. “We do not waste their effort. My parents never said, ‘I love you,’ only my sponsor.”
Cayobit, Rivas, and Advincula are now all teachers and each desperately wishes that they could tell their sponsor what they made of their lives. Listening to their stories showed once again the power of child sponsorship: that, yes, sponsoring a child really does make a difference in a young person’s life.
All three wholeheartedly and without any hesitation attribute their success in life to being sponsored as a child. “Without them we know we won’t reach our ambitions,” said Cayobit. “I am lucky because of World Vision.”
Invest in a community in the Philippines and change the trajectory of a young life. Sponsor a child in the Philippines today!
Help a child in need. Consider sponsoring a child in Guatemala today.
See what our other bloggers wrote about our first day:
Shelby Zacharias: "Guide Mother"
Jamie Wright: "Fighting Poverty is like so 2012"
Zack Hunt: "Losing Your Future Before You Ever Had One"
Jessica Shyba: "Guatemala, Day One: Exposed"
Matthew Paul Turner: "Proof that God Exists..."
Roo Ciambriello: "Hope in an Unexpected Place"
Caleb Wilde: "Poverty Pornography"
Follow the Guatemala bloggers this week as they gather firsthand stories of the children, families, and communities whose circumstances have been changed for the better by World Vision’s sponsorship programs.
Meet our other bloggers and see what they're writing from the field:
Jennifer James: "Survivors Mark One-Year Anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan"
Matthew Paul Turner: "Rebuilding After a Monster Typhoon"
Chris Hale: Coming soon!
Jeana Shandraw: Coming soon!
Follow the Philippines bloggers trip as they visit the World Vision's community development and sponsorship programs first-hand!