Melisa in Guatemala is 12 and the second oldest of 6. She loves being a big sister and helping her family: walking her siblings to school each morning and feeding the animals her family has received from World Vision.
That's why she's so grateful for World Vision's support – to watch her family grow with the nourishment from farm animals and for them to attend better schools and have the supplies they need!
Read about how she is a growing light for her brothers and sisters, and her whole community!
There’s something special about Melisa. All children are special, but Melisa has this spark you can’t help but notice.
She is unusually articulate for a 12-year-old, a loving older sister, and compassionately aware of the people in her community and the challenges they face. She is instantly likeable, but not because she is putting on a show. She is quietly confident, with a shy-but-warm smile.
Every morning, Melisa wakes up, washes her face, and helps her mother get her younger siblings ready for school. Usually this involves changing diapers or making tortillas for breakfast.
Melisa is the second oldest of six, and she lives with them and her parents in Guatemala, 53 miles northwest of Antigua.
Melisa enjoys being a big sister and helping her family.
“I like to watch them play, because I am grown up now,” Melisa says of her siblings. “I know what they can and can’t do. When they are doing something they aren’t supposed to be doing, I am old enough to tell them not to do it.”
After the kitchen is cleaned, Melisa feeds the animals World Vision provided to her family.
“I really enjoy having animals,” she says. “Before, we didn’t have animals to sell or to eat. But now we have a goat. We have pigs. We have more chickens. And I really like to see my family growing in that way.”
Having farm animals means a great deal to Melisa and her family because it ensures that they have nutritious food to eat. Malnutrition is an issue for children in Ixim Achi, the community where Melisa lives. That’s one reason why World Vision works there.
World Vision’s work in Ixim Achi began in 1994. Since then, significant strides have been made in many areas that contribute to the well-being of children, including health and nutrition.
Malnutrition can lead to stunting, a condition where a lack of nutrients prevents children’s bodies from growing. In some cases, children look years younger than they should. Stunting can also lead to problems with cognitive development. Prevention is key to reducing stunting. If malnutrition is prolonged, the effects become irreversible.
The farm animals are a life-changing gift for Melisa and her family, and they are grateful to the World Vision supporters who made it possible.
“Thank you very much. You don’t know how helpful it is to have the animals,” Melisa says. “If we don’t have something to eat, we always will have eggs for breakfast or dinner. So thank you and God bless you.”
Melisa admits that she has a favorite animal on the family farm … the goats. “When they are hungry, it sounds like they are calling my name!”
After Melisa finishes feeding the animals, she gets ready for school—another place where she has seen World Vision at work. “Our schools are better now,” she says. “We now have school supplies for everybody in the school.”
Her school is a short walk down a dirt road from her house. Melisa walks her younger siblings to school before she goes to her classes in the afternoon. Her favorite subject is art, and she especially enjoys drawing and painting. A vibrant painting of flowers she created demonstrates her talent—full of color and detail.
Melisa has been sponsored for about six years, and received a gift notification from her sponsor. A gift notification is a special gift sent by sponsors in addition to their monthly support. Families along with the World Vision staff to decide how best to spend these special extra gifts. For Melisa, it allowed her to buy a new outfit. She is encouraged that her sponsor cares and continues to support her and her community.
The fact that Melisa’s life is different now means that her life will look different later, too. Because Melisa isn’t trapped in the present as she focuses on survival—where her next meal is coming from, or how her mom is going to afford school supplies—she is free to dream. She can dream about her future, and what the future will look like for others, too.
“There are some families that don’t have a place to live, so I would love for them to have a house like mine,” she says, describing dreams. “And for all the young people to have jobs, and not be involved in violence. And for us children, I would love [for us] to keep studying.”
Melisa is the future of Ixim Achi. She has seen change in her community and knows that it’s possible for people’s lives to be drastically better.
She knows that she has a voice and isn’t afraid to speak up and talk about things that matter. Melisa has a spark, and this is only the beginning. This spark cannot help but grow brighter and serve as a light to her brothers and sisters, and the rest of her community.
Melisa was sponsored through a Family Christian store in Washington State!
This Christmas, give a life-changing gift to a family in need! The gift of animals through our Gift Catalog brings income, better nutrition, and joy!
You can also build a personal relationship with a child and his or her family through sponsorship! Choose a child to sponsor in Guatemala today.