A little support goes a long way for a vulnerable child

In addition to her monthly contribution, Tsang Sandy, a sponsor from Hong Kong, sends gifts to Nitanga, her sponsored child in Burundi. Recently, she took advantage of the opportunity to visit Nitanga, and witnessed firsthand the difference her support makes to Nitanga and her family.

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Had it not been for World Vision’s sponsorship program, Nitanga would have missed the opportunity to go to school, because her parents couldn’t have afforded it. Tsang Sandy, a donor from Hong Kong, recently visited Nitanga and her family.

At the end of her visit, Sandy realized that a little support can mean a lot for a vulnerable child.

Nitanga is a small girl with big eyes. She takes a long time to answer questions, rolling her eyes up and down while pondering her answers. She is 8 years old, in first grade. Her dream is to become a teacher when she finishes school.

Her dream may not be realized without external support. Her family lives in the Bugenyuzi commune of Karuzi province, in northeastern Burundi. They are farmers, but do not have enough land to provide everything Nitanga would need to accomplish her goal.

“My parents had ten children," said Jean Marie Nkurunziza, Nitanga’s father. "When we shared the land he had, each of us one got less than a hectare. It is hard to get what we need to live from it."

In 2007, the government of Burundi decided to make primary education mandatory for all children. The response was both positive and overwhelming: Enrollment in first grade went up by 130 percent.

However, in many areas -- like Bugenyuzi, where Nitanga lives -- the lack of basic items such as school uniforms forces children to drop out of school, even though they want to attend.

Sandy, Nitanga’s sponsor who helps support the girl’s family so they can take care of her, came to visit her sponsored child. Sandy sends necessary things that the family needs in order to send Nitanga to school.

Tsang Sandy sends gifts and other support to Nitanga, her sponsored child, in addition to her monthly donations. While visiting Nitanga in Burundi, Sandy witnessed firsthand how much difference her support makes in Nitanga's life. (Photo: Achel Bayisenge/World Vision)

“All needy kids here have one thing in common,” Sandy said. “They lack the basic things they need to enjoy a good life: food, health facilities, water, and many other things.” After touring some areas of the locality in Burundi, Sandy understands this need firsthand.

Education is the key to overcoming all of these issues. A good life begins with a quality education.

Sandy was impressed by the fact that the little gifts she sends are of such big importance to Nitanga, even though they are not very consistent. She said the visit gave her a clear understanding of the children’s situation in that area.

“After this visit, I realized that things I consider small can mean a lot," Sandy concluded. "Kids here can be prevented from going to school by not having clothes or school materials.”

Furahisha Nzisabira, World Vision program manager in Rugazi, said that the sponsorship program has changed the lives of many vulnerable kids in the area. In addition to that direct support, there are also shared benefits of sponsorship: Donor funding helps World Vision in Burundi to bring greater community access to clean drinking water and sanitation, education, skills for future livelihood, nutrition, and health care.

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World Vision sponsors receive access to a wide variety of great features through My World Vision. In addition to an overview of all of your sponsored children, your account information, and a guide to World Vision sponsorship, you can mail a letter, card, or package to your child; learn about visiting your child; or, with our brand-new feature, you can email your sponsored child directly! Choose from a variety of email templates and send news, prayers, greetings, or photos to your child instantly.

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