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From Youth Leader to a Promising Assistant District Officer

© 2016 World Vision Foundation of Thailand | 29 March 2017

“I had ideas but didn’t have the courage to express them,” reflected Asanai Poonsawad (Kung) on his past. He was one of the 60 people to receive the 2016 Model Youth Developer with Ethics and Morality pin from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn as part of the Youth Developer project. Recalling the turning point in his life which brought him to where he is today, Kung said, “I participated in activities organised by World Vision (WV), which encourage youths to express themselves. It made me more outspoken.”

Kung is the son of a farmer in Chaloem Phra Kiat district, Nakhon Si Thammarat province where WV’s Sa Plaeng project works to improve the well-being of the local people. It was how Kung became Sa Plaeng project’s sponsored child back in grade 2. Throughout his primary school years, he received school uniforms, socks, shoes, books and other supplies that equipped him for schooling and lightened his family’s expenses. As he advanced to higher education levels, he joined the skill development camps. They served as the key that unlocked his hidden potential.

Kung shared, “The camp activities gave me the courage to start expressing myself. After attending the camps several times, I grew more outspoken until a WV staff let me become a mentor at the camp. Later I participated in activities that enhanced youth’s leadership capacity …(organised jointly by Sa Pleang project and state agencies).”

Receiving continued support not only enhanced Kung’s leadership, but also gave him the foresight to dream of studying up to university level.

Nevertheless, life is full of uncertainties. Kung’s mother passed away when he was studying in grade 9. The death of a beloved person uprooted his life. “At that moment, I thought there was nothing left for me anymore. I wanted to quit studying.”

At the time, encouragement and warm embraces from the people around Kung helped him regain strength.

  

“My father told me that he wanted me to be successful and would do everything to support me. WValso contributed a lot. My sponsor who sponsored me on behalf of his family wrote letters, encouraging me to study hard for my own future and family,” Kung said.

As such, Kung persevered to achieve his dream as well as joined youth leadership activities. Eventually he was selected to be the class president for Chaloem Phra Kiat Somdet Phra Srinakarin School in Nakhon Si Thammarat province when he was in grade 11.

Kung is currently pursuing his second year at Rajabhat University in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, studying Bachelor of Local Administration under the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. He is simultaneously performing his duty as a youth leader without fail.

“I’ve just partnered with WV in organising youth volunteer travelling activity. I brought youth leader volunteers from 5 schools in Chaloem Phra Kiat district to build fences at Ban Nam Sap School in Pak Phanang district. I was also the facilitator at WV’s youth leadership capacity building camp. Right now I’m also a member of the province’s children and youth council,” Kung articulated with pride, his wide smile revealing his white teeth. He added, “Doing this work gave me opportunities to work with the community and other people, which I think is very fulfilling.”

And this is what inspired Kung to write his own future as he aims to become Chaloem Phra Kiat district’s assistant officer after he completes his education.

“I want to develop my own hometown, improve the administrative system, education, sports and public health. I also want to promote the morality and ethics of the community people,” Kung said.

WV believes that over the next few years, Chaloem Phra Kiat district will celebrate the arrival of a skillful district assistant officer by the name of ‘Asanai Poonsawad’.

Support those like Kung, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

Former sponsored child passes the torch of learning

In Cambodia, Phally Pheng’s passion to teach began with her sponsor’s encouragement

Michael Czobit | February 2015

PHALLY PHENG LIKES GETTING kids’ hands up in the air. A former sponsored child who now teaches in northeast Cambodia, she works hard to teach in ways that engage her students. She wants her students to participate — for their hands to spring up in excitement when she asks a question.

One morning, the 21-year-old teacher calls a boy to the blackboard. He doesn’t hesitate to pick up the chalk. This boy, like all the children in her classroom, is sponsored. Phally knows education can change their lives — just as education changed hers.

Phally’s only dream as a child was to become a teacher. “I told my sponsor this, and she encouraged me to study hard,” she says. If the boy working diligently at the blackboard follows his teacher’s example of adding determination to sponsorship, his dream could also come true.

Sponsorship sends Phally to school

Phally remembers well the days before World Vision and child sponsorship arrived. Her parents were farmers, but they didn’t earn enough to support her and her younger sister and brother. Phally’s parents had to borrow money from her aunt to pay school fees.

But then, when she turned 9, someone began to sponsor her through World Vision, and Phally was able to go to school. She initially attended classes held outdoors because her community didn’t have a building for the children to learn in. Phally says, “We weren’t encouraged without a building.”

But as World Vision’s work in Samlot continued, the community changed in many ways. “There was a lot of development,” says Phally. “World Vision built a well, roads, and school buildings.” Phally adds that the well, in particular, made life easier. “We used to fetch water as far as eight kilometers (nearly five miles) away. But after we had the well, it was easy for us to get water.”

Ready access to water is helping more children go to school instead of carrying water throughout the day. As a result, all children in Phally’s community are now enrolled in primary school, and 60 percent of younger children attend preschool.

Because of her own experience in school, Phally chose to become a teacher.
(Photo: ©2014 Paul Bettings/World Vision)

Nurturing the seeds of learning

As Phally progressed from grade to grade, she saw the need for more teachers to plant the seeds of learning in young minds like hers. She began to think that perhaps she too could be a teacher one day. “When I was growing up, we didn’t have enough teachers,” she says. “I found this didn’t encourage us to go to school. I wanted to help my community.”

Along with benefiting from the work that World Vision did in her community, Phally also enjoyed an ongoing relationship with her sponsor, who sent her letters twice a year. “She would ask about my family and my schooling,” Phally says. “She wanted to know how I was doing.” Phally would write back and tell her sponsor about her life and successes. In one letter, she shared about her dream of becoming a teacher.

“Faith is very important to people. People need God. I believe it will shape people to do good things.” — Phally Pheng, Former Sponsored Child

Her sponsor encouraged her to pursue that dream, a message Phally took to heart. After she finished high school, Phally went to college. Her Christian faith also motivated her to keep striving. “Faith is very important to people,” she says. “People need God. I believe it will shape people to do good things.”

For the past four years Phally has taught a number of grades and a variety of subjects. Her favorite subject is literacy because, she says, “I love reading.”

In class, she proudly wears a traditional Cambodian dress, but her pride in her students is even more evident. “Through sponsorship, children have a chance to gain knowledge,” she says. “They receive what they need.” Phally is proof of this — through sponsorship, she received what she needed to realize her dream.

Support those like Phally, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

Thailand: ‘I dreamed of being a teacher’

Somluck Khamsaen, World Vision communications officer, Thailand | May 8, 2013

©2013 SOMLUCK KHAMSAEN/WORLD VISION
Sangla Nantheppong, a former World Vision sponsored child, is happy with her teaching success in Thailand.

Chattering and disorderly like a bunch of sparrows, third-grade students at Manit Wittaya School in Chiang Rai excitedly await the arrival of their new English teacher.

As the sound of footsteps grows louder, the class falls silent.

“Is this third grade?” the teacher asks, walking into the classroom.

Students in the front rows nod. All eyes are on the teacher as she puts her books on the teacher’s table.

It seems to the students that the new teacher is younger than all the female teachers in the school. Her big eyes are gentle and friendly. She smiles.

Like the other teachers, she wears a scout uniform, khaki skirt, and shirt with a pink and blue scarf.

“Good afternoon. I’m here to be your new English teacher,” she says. “My name is Sangla Nantheppong. You can call me Teacher La.”

Sangla turns around, picks up a piece of chalk, and writes her name on the blackboard.

Improving lives and livelihoods

Since she was the age of her students, Sangla dreamed that someday she would be a teacher.

Sangla always loved going to school as a child, but she worried that she might have to quit early, like her older sister who left school after sixth grade. Sangla’s anxiety even caused bad dreams.

Her father and mother, Sukam and Chansuay, worked as farm laborers, earning only about 120 baht, about $4 per day. It was not enough to support a family. Sangla’s parents argued about money and debts; her father was often out of work.

When she was in primary school, Sangla joined World Vision’s sponsorship program. She received school uniforms, shoes, and school supplies that helped her stay in school.

Sponsorship funding also made it possible for her parents and other community members to take part in agriculture training. Their livelihoods improved when they began raising chickens, and Sangla was able to remain in school.

“Having an education is very important. It enhances our skills and provides us with opportunities. SANGLA NANTHEPPONG

Teacher hopes to instill love of learning

From her early school days, Sangla studied hard and earned good grades. Letters from her World Vision sponsor sparked her interest in English.

She promised herself that one day she would write a letter in English all by herself.

Years later, her dream of becoming a teacher has been fulfilled — and she hopes to inspire her 185 third-grade students to learn English and pursue education.

Says Sangla: “Having an education is very important. It enhances our skills and provides us with opportunities.”

Somluck Khamsaen is a World Vision communications officer in Thailand.

Support children like Trang, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

Learned generosity

By Trang My Hang, Communications Officer, World Vision Vietnam | June 21, 2016

“Once I stepped out of my village flying to Japan, I’ve learnt that generosity can change lives of poor farmers like my parents, and of shy kids as me”, reveals Trang.

“It was a beautiful country with kind-hearted people that I could never forget,” Trang recalled her visit to Japan meeting her sponsors seven years ago, when she was a World Vision’s sponsored child. “I had been very much shy until I joined World Vision’s children club. Frequently corresponding with my sponsors also encouraged me to fly my timidity away.”

Trang keeps all the photos of her first visit to Japan seven years ago.

Trang has taken a step closer to fulfilling her dream as she is now a student at an University of Education.

“Our stable income keeps our kids going to school,” affirmed Bui Van Toan, Trang’s father. “World Vision helped us join training courses where we learnt and practiced to raise pigs, chicken and to plan safe vegetables. So far, we’ve got paid off from what we learnt.”

With their annual income around US $2,200, Trang’s parents afford to send their three daughters to higher education, with the oldest having just graduated university and the youngest going to high school.

“Frequently corresponding with my sponsors also encouraged me to fly my timidity away.”

Recently, with World Vision’s support, farmers in Van Yen district where Trang’s family lives have got “the certificate of compliance with food safety regulations”. It means Trang’s mother can sell her vegetable to supermarkets.

“Having escaped poverty, I’m positive of our kids’ future,” says Ha Thi Tot, Trang’s mother.

“Once I stepped out of my village flying to Japan, I’ve learnt that generosity can change lives of poor farmers like my parents, and of shy kids as me,” reveals Trang.

Trang with her mother and younger sister

Support children like Trang, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

How generosity saved a boy from a fatal disability

How far can you go as parents to save your child? How generous can you be to save someone’s life? With the help of his family and the generosity of others, 12-year-old Jomari is finally winning the battle for his life after being diagnosed with a fatal disability right after his birth.

It was 2004 when the Portugis family had just settled in Palawan, an island province far from their hometown in Bohol. They lived in a small but well-built house. Juris, the head of the family, had acquired a decent job. Life was starting to become convenient.

That same year, Sergia gave birth to Jomari, who was immediately diagnosed with a physical disability. This troubled Juris and Sergia because they knew that their child’s condition might put his life at risk.

The doctor who attended to Sergia revealed that her son has a renal and urinal disability. The disability prevented the infant to lose body wastes normally because of irregularity of the skin on his anal and reproductive organ.

“The doctor told me that an operation should be performed immediately before the trapped body wastes could cause infection to my son’s internal organs,” the mother was emotional as she tried to remember the exact words the doctor said.

The plan was to create a temporary hole on the child’s abdomen area so the wastes could be extracted regularly. Estimated to cost around P30,000, the couple were worried that the operation might not push through since they spent most of their expenses for the birth delivery.

Optimistic, Sergia believed in the generosity of others during her son’s time of need. She approached different offices, talked to many individuals and appealed for financial support or free health services. Her husband also doubled his efforts by accepting more work after his day job. They prayed tirelessly for their son’s healing.

And just like answered prayers, generous people came to answer their plea. The mayor of their town provided transportation expenses so the family can travel to Puerto Princesa, the province’s capital, for the abdomen operation. The doctor who attended to Jomari only asked P15,000 and even allowed the parents to pay only when they already could.

The infant’s operation was successful. He can already extract waste through the hole on his abdomen. His parents constantly watched over Jomari and made sure he had everything he needed.

However, it was only a matter of time that Jomari’s health became unstable because of his abnormal condition. They needed to bathe him using distilled water to avoid infection on his abdomen. The distilled water didn’t work for a time and Jomari got infected. He suffered from constant fever and unbearable pain.

“It was hard for me to see my son suffer through that pain all the time,” Sergia shared. “He was still only a few months old and to see my child cry all the time because of the complicated situation was unbearable.”

After continuous effort to seek for assistance and hardwork of the parents, Jomari finally got his anal organ operated when he turned a year old. He can already perform a normal bowel movement.

Years passed by, the family returned to Bohol – their hometown. The child continued to bear the hole on his abdomen for his urinal waste. It was only recently that Jomari became a member of World Vision, a development foundation working in the communities through child-focused projects. The organization helped by supporting the check-up expenses of the child.

In 2015, the boy’s reproductive organ was operated after a series of check-ups. His abdomen hole, along with the pain he suffered all those years, was already stitched closed.

“The doctors, the staff of World Vision, and every generous people who helped my son, we are very thankful for them,” the mother expressed.

Now on his elementary years in education, Jomari is living a normal life without the trouble of pain and discomfort. Though, he is still waiting for his final operation to fully recover, Jomari and his parents will continue to fight until he is finally healed.

“We don’t have enough but God is good and He continues to send generous people to help us,” said Sergia.

Support children like Jomari, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

Inspiring a school of South Sudanese refugees

August 14, 2017

As told to Mark Nonkes

Par is the head teacher of a World Vision-built school in Kakuma refugee camp. A South Sudanese citizen who left his country for a better life in Kenya. He’s guiding 4,800 primary school students through their education.

This is his story, in his own words.

“I was born in 1989, the same year my father was killed. I was in the womb. That’s why I was called Par. Par means crying after a father’s death. I had two older brothers. I grew up as a cow boy. A cow boy is somebody who herds cows, who takes care of the animals. Our family had 15 cows.

“After my father died, my mother had three other children. In 1996, my mother thought we should go to school. She took us to northern Sudan. We sold all our belongings and went for three years. I studied in Khartoum.

“However, more death in the family forced us to return to our homeland in South Sudan. My older brother was bitten by a scorpion and died. Another older brother died from sickness. I was suddenly the oldest boy at home. I returned to the struggle of life as a cow boy.

“By the time I was 14, I realized I needed to take charge and be responsible. I had to make sure my younger brother, sisters and my mother would survive.

“In 2004, our village received food aid. The organization said they were willing to take some children to study. I threw myself into their airplane when I heard that. I didn’t even tell my mother I was going. I left with 12 other boys.

“We were brought here to Kakuma Refugee Camp. We stayed at the camp as unaccompanied minors. We struggled every day – getting food, cooking, fetching water – everything we do, we do by ourselves. There was nobody to take care of us.

“That’s when I started my education. I started in Grade 3 and I continued to Grade 8. I started secondary school in 2011. In 2012, my uncle sent me money, so I was able to join a boarding school. But the money ran out after two years, and I returned to Kakuma for my final year of secondary school.

“In 2014, in my final year of secondary school, three things happened. I was enrolled late and missed the first term. I was given subjects I had no interest in. Then when the exams came, I was forced to write subjects I didn’t study. I failed – I got a D. In the same year, my mother sent me a wife from South Sudan. We were married. Now I have a baby boy.

“That same year, I started volunteering to teach math at this primary school.

“I taught Class 5, 7 and 8 math. A year later, in March of 2015, the head teacher called me. He told me to come and continue. ‘The learners love you, they say you are good’, I was told. And then they started to pay me a little.

“Each day, I would stay in the class until 9pm with students. I would read with them and practice math with them. We would remain as the last ones at the school and lock the gate when we left. At the end of the year, my top student had the highest mark in math from the entire refugee camp – among all the schools.

“I think the students like me because they see themselves. I’m a refugee and from South Sudan, like most of them. I understand what they have experienced. My younger brother was shot in the conflict earlier this year and is still injured. My family is affected by a lack of food – sometimes they go two or three days without eating. I try to help them by sending them a bit of my salary each month.

“My goal is to help these students. Many South Sudanese enroll in school here, but they’re scarred by the past. Children arrive and they’ve lost a parent or sibling. They’ve witnessed gun fighting and other horrors. It takes a long time for them to let go of that hostility and be able to focus on their education. My main fight is to unite them, to create a culture of peace among them within the school. I urge them to commit to their education because it will help them in their future.

“In 2017, I was appointed deputy head teacher. I continued to teach Class 7 and 8 mathematics. At that time, I was supposed to go and work at another school. But the students and my colleagues refused to let me go. They complained and complained and I got to stay here. Two months ago, I was appointed the head teacher.

“You know, I never dreamed of becoming a teacher but this path called me. I love teaching. You become a psychologist in part. You study people and get to understand their lives. You help them problem solve. You get them focused on their education.

“We have had a very big improvement in student’s performance. For example, most students are now able to speak in English and Kiswahili. As well, the number of students who are performing well on their exams is improving. In 2015, the best mark was 325 and in 2016, the best mark was 374. In mathematics, our learners are getting the highest marks in the whole camp. These are true indicators that learning is taking place.

“When you get to see students succeed, their minds and thoughts open up, that’s an great thing to be part of.”

Support children like Par, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

Former sponsored child builds on his own empowerment to help others

By Elizabeth Hendley | July 10, 2017

Tipu Azad, 22, leads a group of children in games at the park in his neighborhood. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee)

A pair of dumbbells hits the floor as Tipu Azad finishes a set of chest presses. The disciplined 22-year-old, a former sponsored child, works out most mornings at the gym, moving from one machine to the next in a circuit-training plan.

It’s a utilitarian space — more like a boxing gym than L.A. Fitness — that matches the feel of his no-frills neighborhood in southeast Delhi. Most families here live in poverty, but enough have crossed an economic threshold to where they, like Tipu, have some disposable income to pay for a gym membership.

After finishing his workout, Tipu strolls through the maze of narrow concrete streets back to his home. With a haircut modeled after soccer star David Beckham and a cell phone in his pocket that captures frequent selfies, he waves hello to neighbors and friends he passes.

He shares a four-story home with five brothers, one sister, and their parents, who brought the family to Delhi in 1995 from Bhojpur, a small city in Bihar state about 620 miles away.

An unexpected byproduct of their move: access to World Vision’s presence in Delhi, which has helped each family member flourish. Eldest brother Saddham was sponsored at age 5; now 23, he’s a graphic designer. Sixteen-yearold Amir still has a sponsor in the U.S.

World Vision’s economic empowerment programs also helped transform the family’s future. Because they had tailoring experience, Tipu’s parents, Nasima and Mohammad, received sewing machines to start a business from their home. Their workshop is now a hub of activity with two sewing machines that barely rest. “The entire neighborhood are our customers,” Nasima says with a laugh.

Tipu was sponsored at age 7. But as a younger teenager, he got involved with the wrong crowd — skipping school, loitering, and teasing girls. All that changed when he began spending more time with staff at World Vision’s center in his neighborhood. “It was a mindset shift,” he says. “It’s about taking negative things and making them positive.”

It was a mindset shift. It’s about taking negative things and making them positive —Tipu Azad

All seven siblings have embraced a variety of World Vision programs and workshops. Children’s clubs help them develop leadership skills and a passion for helping others; self-defense training for Heena, the only daughter in the family, inspires confidence; drama performances teach creative expression. Even the library at the World Vision center shaped Tipu’s future by stimulating his appetite for books. He became a regular visitor, checking out novels, biographies, fables, and language instruction books.

Because of his transformative experience as a sponsored child, Tipu started volunteering for a local nonprofit organization in 2011. Soon, he was hired as a full-time staff member in their South Delhi office, teaching children about health, how to respect their parents, social and emotional learning, sports, and the importance of education.

“There are small kids — 6 and 7 years old — smoking, drinking, stealing, not going to school,” he says — ample opportunity for him to make a difference in their lives.

Once encouraged by World Vision staff, Tipu now helps children who aren’t in school with tutoring so they can enroll. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee)

Every day, he facilitates two two-hour sessions for local children. Today, a dozen kids form a circle in the neighborhood park, and Tipu leads them in a song about good hygiene habits before playing a few games and working on soccer skills. The sessions are a hodgepodge of educational activities and games, and through it all Tipu builds trust and reinforces that he’s available for the kids whenever they need him.

He’s proud to be a leader in his community. “A train has both cars and an engine,” he says. “A lot of people say they want to be leaders, but not many do.”

Inspired by a World Vision staff member, several years ago Tipu switched the focus of his college studies from communications to social work, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 2016. He’s now working toward a master’s in social work.

Exhausted from the two kids’ sessions and his own coursework, Tipu ends the day with his siblings. They crowd into their parents’ workshop, joking and talking over one another. Bolstered by their affection and care for each other, the tight-knit family has shone their warmth outward into their community.

“We want two things for our kids,” says their father, reading glasses perched on his nose. “Character — that they be soft-spoken, behave in the proper way, and have good manners. And studying — that they will do something and stand on their own two feet.”

With World Vision’s help and encouragement, Tipu has fulfilled his father’s hopes — and he’s helping other children reach their own potential.

Support children like Tipu, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

World Toilet Day goes to school

By Kathryn Reid | November 17,2014

For much of the world, a shortage of toilets is not just an inconvenience, it’s a matter of life and death.

Forty percent of the people on earth — 2.5 billion of the world’s 7 billion men, women, and children — go through their day without improved sanitation. One billion people defecate in the open — in fields, forests, or rivers.

It’s no surprise that the highest death rates for children under 5 occur where open defecation is common. The same places lag behind in social and economic growth, security, gender equity, and care for the environment.

If you want to change the world, it’s not enough to give someone a functioning toilet and sink. They have to understand its value, keep it clean and maintained, and use it.

To improve the lives of children, World Vision provides clean water, toilets, and hygiene training in many schools around the world.

School girls walk to the toilet block built by World Vision at Simwami Community School in Zambia. In developing countries it’s important for girls to have separate toilets that are clean and safe to access so they can stay in school after they reach adolescence. | © 2014 Jon Warren, World Vision

Good hygiene is part of the learning experience at Ude Kindergarten #2 in the nation of Georgia. New indoor flush toilets are a vast improvement over the unheated, outdoor latrines they replaced. School enrollment has increased since the toilets were installed. | © 2014 Michelle Siu, World Vision

Tick, 8, is proud of having a toilet at her home in Laos. “My sister and me are not absent from school like before because we are healthy,” she says. Now she knows about handwashing, and she no longer runs to the forest to relieve herself, risking run-ins with disease-carrying mosquitoes and snakes. | ©2014 Ammala Thomisith, World Vision

Students at Pi Tnou secondary school in Cambodia clean toilets. World Vision supported the school with a water tank so they can have clean water for drinking, washing, and watering their vegetable garden. | © 2013 Sopheak Kong, World Vision

And don’t forget to wash your hands! Primary school students in Myanmar learn the importance of cleanliness and handwashing using school facilities. World Vision provided the school with latrines, a concrete water tank, and a classroom building. | ©2014 Khaing Min Htoo, World Vision

Support children like these, where World Vision focuses in long term sustainability of the community which elevates them from poverty. You can help turn a child’s life better and filled it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child or donate to World Vision’s Clean Water Fund today!

Former sponsored child reflects on fulfilled dreams

By Xavier Sku | 23 March 2017

Rongdi Jib, now 40, saw his life transform when he was sponsored through World Vision (©2015 World Vision/photo by Xavier Sku)

As a child, Rongdi Jib, now 40, faced a life with few prospects.

In the mid-1970s, Bangladesh was a new nation. Once under the rule of British India, the country formerly known as East Pakistan emerged in 1971 after a war of independence that left 300,000 civilians dead.

Life in the wake of such upheaval was difficult for the many people in Bangladesh living in poverty — including Rongdi, who is known as Biswajit. “I was born in a low-income family, so my life was very uncertain,” he says. “My father was a day laborer. It was very hard for him to provide even daily meals for us, so it was an extra burden to pay my basic educational expenses.”

Biswajit’s family lived in Durgapur, in southwest Bangladesh. The town sits amid a tangle of rivers and tributaries, all of which empty into the Bay of Bengal 50 miles to the south. The low-lying land is prone to natural disasters like flooding and cyclones.

After his eldest sister married, Biswajit moved in with her because she and her husband could provide enough food for him. That was where he grew up. “The turning point of my life was when World Vision registered me as a sponsored child in 1981,” Biswajit says. He was in first grade.

Another milestone came in 1984, when his World Vision sponsor, a doctor, traveled to meet him at the organization’s national headquarters in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital city. “As I was a young boy, I was excited to meet my sponsor and get chocolates, toys, and several drawing books from him,” Biswajit says. “He took many photos and sent them to me later when he got back to his country.”

His sponsor’s visit sparked an eagerness to learn and stand on his own two feet. “People used to ask me what I dreamed of being,” Biswajit says. “I answered that I wanted to be a teacher, although I knew it would be tough for me. But I think it was God’s plan that made my dream come true. Many people’s lives have changed through World Vision’s programs, not only mine. World Vision taught me how to dream.”

After graduation, Biswajit followed his dream of a career in education. Today, he’s a teacher in an independent high school, where he is a popular staff member, sports coach, and cultural events organizer. In a country where nearly a million children aren’t in primary school, he’s making a difference in the lives of his students — as well as his family. Biswajit and his wife, a nurse at a hospital, have two daughters, both of whom are in primary school.

In 2015, World Vision phased out its presence in Durgapur. The local community was ready to sustain the work World Vision began many years ago: agriculture and husbandry training; workshops on nutrition and cooking; women’s savings groups; midwife training; educational support; and more. Sponsorship, the bedrock of change in Durgapur and other communities, has a lasting effect in Bangladesh through the lives of sponsored children like Biswajit.

“My family will be forever grateful to World Vision. I will always cherish World Vision in my memories,” he says. “May God always use this organization for the welfare of poor and vulnerable children.

Support children like Biswajit, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

I know how to read, write and become a chef!!!

Hoang Thuy Chung, Communications Officer, World Vision Vietnam | 16 March  2017

That is the greatest joy of Mai Van Son – an orphan boy born in 1998, living with his grandmother at Lac Vien Ward, Ngo Quyen District, Hai Phong city.

Just a few years ago, Son was a thin boy with eyes always looking down and his smile was never seen blooming on the lips. He did not know how to read accented letters, did not know how to write his name, no parents since he was 8 years old, no more than two sets of clothing, whether in summer or in cold winter, and he has never known what a full stomach is like…

For Son, he had nothing except one thing – dream. He dreamed of becoming a chef and had a job to support his grandmother. But how to make dreams come true, he did not know.

Everyday, he held his grandmother’s hand to wander around the market to beg for small changes. At night, he made little money by playing games online. Son’s life and dream would have elapsed day by day in his boarding house if one day, Ms. Nhung – the chairwoman of women’s union in Lac Vien ward hadn’t come to see him.

She wore a blue shirt with lots of strange letters on her back that he could not read.

She guided Son to the children house of culture in Ngo Quyen district to participate a life skills training class held by the district women’s union and World Vision Vietnam. There, the first time he realized that he also had a strong point of honesty. The first time he cried when talking about his life. The first time he belonged to a place called Khat vong thanh cong (Desire to Success) Club.

And when he knew his dream would be supported by the Youth Livelihood project, he also realized that the ability of reading and writing would make his dream less difficult.

Since then, in the ragged hive sandals, he walked through the long distance to participate all the extracurricular exercises and became a core member, a striker for the Khat vong thanh cong football club.

He was in the habit of life skills classes, volunteering in the kitchen of a restaurant to become familiar with the work of a chef. He no longer came to the internet shop but concentrating on the evening classes supported by Ms. Thuong and Ms. Ngoc. He began to be able to read cooking textbooks.

Son studied with the help of Ms. Thuong

These efforts have been recorded and approved to support training by People’s Committee of Ngo Quyen district and World Vision Vietnam.

Sparkling eyes and bright smile when looking forward, he excitedly said: “Since I came to school, I did not quit even one day. The dish I cook best is butter fried squid, I will make this delicious dish in the final exam”.

One more month of intense training, Son graduated with that butter fried squid and became a chef. Starting with low positions in the kitchens, Son has advanced through 3 or 4 places, higher salary one after the other. Now Son is working as a chef in a duck restaurant.

All monthly salary is handed to his grandmother to keep. She doesn’t have to go out on the street anymore. They still stay in his uncle’s small house but with new beds. Son also purchased an electric bike to get to work. His next goal is a new house for him and grandmother.

Son’s kitchen job is super busy, not a free lunch or dinner time, especially in weekends. But he takes any available time to attend contests, social events and major activities of the club and the project. He remains reading and writing well.

“Now I know what the words on her back were, dare to think – dare to do – dare to succeed”, said Son with a big smile on his lips.

Support people like Son, where World Vision focuses in long term sustainability of the community which elevates them from poverty. You can help turn a child’s life better and filled it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child or donate to World Vision’s Education Fund today!