While World Vision's child sponsorship program is life-changing for millions of children and families around the world, the most exciting part for many sponsored children is the relationship they build with their sponsors!
See why 12-year-old Saro in Cambodia loves her sponsor's cards so much … and how her community has changed over the past 8 years.
After receiving a card from her World Vision sponsor, 12-year-old Saro rushes to meet her friends, shows them the card, and lets them take turns reading the letter, which is translated into the Khmer language.
In the colorful card, her sponsor writes: “We are thinking of you. Keep doing your best. Put others first. Trust in Him with cares for us.”
Saro smiles and says, “I am excited when I received the card. It is colorful and there are encouraging words from my sponsor. She encouraged me to love friends and study hard. I like the pictures of flowers, rainbow, fish, star, and dolls in the card.”
Because of her sponsor writes in English to her, she wants to know more English. Presently, she knows the days of the week.
“I want to know about her family, her children, and the place she is living,” Saro says.
Onn, the child facilitator in Saro’s community in Cambodia, has been working with over 500 children through World Vision activities for eight years.
“Through sponsors’ letters, the children receive encouragement, and it shows love to the children,” says Onn.
“I can see [the sponsored children] are very happy when they receive the letter. For those who don’t receive it, they look so sad,” continues Onn. “Most of the sponsors encourage children to [go to] school, it is truly effective. Children love schooling, plus [through] our work with parents, they understand the importance of children’s education and sending them to school.”
Saro is studying in the 4th grade. She is second in her class. Mathematics is her favorite subject.
Today, Thursday, there is no class, but she and her classmates spend an hour cleaning the schoolyard.
Later, she swings in a hammock beneath the jackfruit tree beside the house, which is what Saro usually does with her grandmother during the afternoon.
“I want to be a teacher because I don’t want to be a factory worker like my mother. They (employer) cursed us when we did anything wrong,” says Saro.
World Vision has been working in Saro’s community since 2000.
“Before, it was very easy to recruit registered children, but now it is not.” Onn explains: “I mean now, most of the parents have jobs and they are able to support sending children to school. They have enough food to eat and can bring their children to get medical service unlike before when I visited children, parents complained about shortage of food for children and children were sick and could not get medical service,” says Onn.
Sitting on a bamboo bed in front of Saro’s house, which is made from a thatch roof and zinc walls, another sponsored girl named Rotha, 14, says, “I know World Vision restored channels, made pump well, gave water filters, made toilet, and educated people to love education.”
Onn says, “World Vision has contributed to educate our villagers on health, restore channels, which helps to increase yields two to three times higher than previous time. Thus our farmers have better living condition. For the people who have no land for farming, at least they could find a job in their community such as clearing grasses and making soil. There are many activities that World Vision initiated and community people can participate in and learn.”
Onn continues to elaborate: “There are savings groups and [Agriculture Cooperative] groups, our people can save and borrow money from the group, thus they have better income.”
“I can say, my community people have better knowledge in terms of hygiene. Their houses are clean. Ninety percent of them have toilets at home. They drink boiled water. They send their children to go to school when they reach 6 years old,” says Onn.
World Vision's child sponsorship makes a significant impact in the lives of children, families, and communities around the world. But for many children, the most exciting part is the personal relationship they build with their sponsor through letters and cards and packages! Bring joy to a child in Cambodia today.