Author Archive: World Vision Malaysia Admin

10 financial tips to help make the world a better place

tipmon
By Casey Slide
A guest blogger of World Vision US

Today’s guest blogger is Casey Slide, who writes about lifestyle topics on Money Crashers and is particularly passionate about personal finance. Here, she offers her thoughts on what can be accomplished simply by focusing on financial stewardship.

One of the most practical pieces of advice ever given on the subject of making a difference in the world came from none other than Mother Teresa when she said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

While we often believe it takes an ground-breaking discovery, a life-saving cure, or a million dollars to change the world, a simple evaluation of our finances can make an enormous difference. When you examine your finances and find ways to give money to worthwhile causes, you can embrace stewardship and a lifestyle of charitable giving.

Start by making a difference in yourself

1. Educate yourself
Before you can help others, you need to help yourself. Read books, read blogs, and learn how to get organized and make a budget. This puts you in a better position to pass along knowledge and to have money available to give.

2. Be honest with yourself
There are more important things in life than having a lot of money, but we often forget this principle. Build a spirit of giving and regularly remind yourself that the most important things in life can’t be bought. To begin making a change, take some time each week to think about how you can better yourself.

3. Establish a budget
Treat money management as a high priority in your life instead of an afterthought. Take the initiative to set up a budget and live by it, rather than going into debt and having to clean up the mess later. Simply put, the more aware you are of how much money you have coming in and how much is going out, the better able you’ll be to manage it and spend according to your priorities, such as charitable giving.
Effective money management helps you succeed and sets a positive example for others, such as your friends and family members who may need inspiration to manage money more wisely.

4. Save money in your everyday life
Look for ways to save money — because every ringgit saved is a ringgit that can be donated. Here are some ideas:

– Use coupons when you shop for groceries or compare prices before buying. We like the SmartShopper Malaysia Mobile App!
– Replace disposable items with reusable items. Like bring a container to take away food at your favourite chap fan shop instead
of using styrofoam packets!

– Start your own vegetable garden to save money at the grocery store. Grow herbs at your windowsill!
– Do it yourself instead of hiring a professional whenever you can. Or learn from YouTube!
– Utilize RM5+ stores for certain products. Like Daiso!
– Make your own household cleaners and homemade laundry detergents. Or buy from specialised shops so you can save on
          buying new bottles from the supermarket each time. Check out BYOB.

5. Save for retirement
Start a tax-advantaged retirement account so that not only will you be able to afford retirement, but so you are able to continue a lifestyle of giving. Contributing to an IRA, Roth IRA, or your company’s 401(k) is a very efficient way to save for your future, since you reduce your taxable income; it’s one of the first steps in preparing and planning for retirement. Furthermore, if you save enough, you may want to pass on your assests to charity at the end of your life.

Make a difference among your family and friends

6. Work as a team within your immediate family
Spouses often don’t discuss finances, and can find themselves on different pages when it comes to money. This may result in an overspending spouse or even financial infidelity.
Instead of avoiding talks about money, work as a team to discuss financial matters on a weekly basis. Furthermore, you may want to involve your kids in some of your financial activities, such as saving change to give to charity or choosing cost-effective meals and groceries.

7. Empower Family and Friends
When you see a friend or family member struggling financially, you may want to loan them money to pay their bills. However, it might be best to avoid lending money to friends or family members, because this could only make their problem worse. They may refuse to repay the loan or find themselves unable to repay. And when you loan people money, you enable their dependencies and poor financial choices.
Ultimately, loaning money can strain or sever a relationship. Instead, sit down with your friend or family member and discuss options to help them handle their finances.

Make a difference in your community and the world

8. Give money to a worthy cause
Give money to a worthwhile cause, and give with joy. Think about what you want to see changed in the world, and look for an organization that supports the cause. This helps you to become more enthusiastic and selfless about your giving. Also, stay connected to see the impact of your gifts — and if you give to an IRS-approved charity, you can deduct the monetary gift on your taxes. Or income tax deductible organisations in Malaysia.

9. Donate unwanted or unneeded possessions
If you cannot afford to give monetary donations, look for other ways to help. For example, you can donate clothing and household goods, ridding your home of clutter and simplifying your life. While you could sell your unwanted items, making the financial decision to forgo that profit makes the world a better place.

10. Get involved or volunteer with organizations
Involving yourself with a charitable organization can be difficult, but it’s also rewarding. You don’t have to give much of your time — perhaps only a few hours a month, or every other month. The key is if you have followed the first few tips and have your own finances under control, you’ll be less stressed and able to give more time and energy to community or world problems.

Regardless of how much time you can devote, giving your time and sharing your abilities really rounds out a true giving of yourself.

Additionally, this affords you a real glimpse into an organization that you support.

Story courtesy of World Vision US

“A chicken, so what!” — A skeptic converted

By Laura Reinhardt
World Vision US

Catherine Syasulwe heard that people attending World Vision’s livestock management training in Sinazongwe, Zambia, might receive animals through the Gift Catalogue, so she went to the meeting. But when the World Vision staff told all the trainees that they were getting chickens, she remembers thinking: “A chicken, so what! Can they do anything?”

Catherine continues to be surprised at how many ‘anythings’ just four Gift Catalogue chickens can produce.

A not-too-distant past of poverty
The year was 2006 and Catherine was just divorced from her husband. Pregnant with her son, Padrick and living with her parents Robert Syasulwe and Mary Phiri, the family struggled mightily.

They didn’t have enough food. They owned no animals, which meant they had no savings. Catherine didn’t know how she would provide for the baby on the way.

Then World Vision came with the offer for livestock management training. Just a year before, Catherine had watched both her parents receiving training in conservation farming from World Vision.

So Catherine was familiar with World Vision and recognized them as a trustworthy organization, but still, after the training she hoped for something more than four chickens.

“Something told me work hard, take care of [the chickens] using the skills you’ve been given,” she says. “I didn’t realize the potential in those chickens.” In a short time, the four chickens became 15, then 30.

Using the chickens, she purchased ducks, followed by goats, then pigs. The animals elevated her stature in the community. Before, when the family struggled, Catherine often heard people whispering about her when she walked by: “Look she’s already coming because she’s coming to beg.” The cruel words wounded her.

Thanks to the many animals she owns today, neighbors now desire her company. “Today if I am passing by, they will call me and say, ‘Can you come here?’”

Gift Catalogue chickens help a family to dream
In addition to her expanding menagerie, 33-year-old Catherine’s family hasn’t finished growing either. Four years ago she remarried and recently gave birth to 1-month-old Robert Syamwela.

Catherine can now dream extravagantly for her children. “I want my child to have a bright future through education,” she says. “[And] with the wealth that God has blessed us with right now, I won’t allow my son to miss the opportunity to finish his education.”

CatS
That opportunity passed her by when she quit school in ninth grade because her parents couldn’t afford the costs. Thankfully Padrick looks to be on a strong school path. The shy boy likes his mathematics classes best and hopes to be a teacher when he grows up.

“Whatever he needs we’re able to provide,” Catherine says. “He goes to school filled up, not hungry.”

In fact no one in the family goes hungry. They eat plenty. Catherine laughs as she shows off her arm muscles.  People in the community refer to the family as giants because they eat so well.

Padrick also faces a more hopeful future thanks to a World Vision child sponsor in the US, who’s been sponsoring him for more than 7 years. “I am very happy because this child has a friend who thinks of him,” says Catherine about Padrick’s sponsor.

Safety nets through savings groups in Zambia
In 2009, World Vision introduced savings groups in Sinazongwe. Catherine and her mother, Mary both eagerly joined. They learned money management skills.

They and other group members borrowed money, paying it back within the 2-month time frame. This resulted in increased savings due to the interest payments on the loans. Those savings provided a safety net to Catherine’s formerly impoverished family.

The family used this money to invest in better seeds, farm equipment, solar panels, and a new business selling dried fish from nearby Lake Kariba. Now they have fresh sources of income that aren’t all dependent on the rains. That’s a good thing because El Nino is causing drought to plague southern Africa.

Catherine and Mary remain undaunted. They’re using the water-conserving farming techniques Mary learned back in 2005 for their fields and their home gardens. Since the home garden sits closer to the stream, it flourishes more than the fields, but both continue to produce healthy food for the family to eat and also to sell. In fact, they lean heavily on produce sales to provide for their family.

Catherine laughs when asked if her now bountiful life has affected her faith. “Right now I want to dance,” she says. “My faith has grown so much that I don’t even know the kind of dance that I can use for the Lord, just to show my joy for what he has done for me through this support.

She says it’s like God sent the Gift Catalogue chickens straight to her as a present just to change her path. She looks around at her healthy children, at her own health, at the garden and fields, at the animals roaming around the home and says, “All this would have not been possible without the chickens,” says Catherine.

And with that Catherine answers her question about whether or not a chicken can do anything.  In a word, Yes.

Story courtesy of World Vision US

One goat, one chicken, one rooster: changing thousands of lives

When World Vision distributed hundreds of animals in Christine’s community in Uganda she thought she had missed out on an opportunity to improve life for her family.

Fortunately for Christine, there was another important part of this project that aimed to spread the benefits of raising animals to more and more families.

Each household that received a chicken, rooster and goat was asked to pass their first female offspring along to another family.

These acts of kindness would help countless more families to improve their livelihood and became the start of a pay-it-forward wave of change for this district in Uganda.

The livelihood project distributed one hen, rooster and goat to 600 households across the district as well as another 300 goats to other households and 40 male goats for communities to share.

Freddy Onguu, a livelihoods officer for the local project, explains that the idea of distributing animals is to improve the income and nutritional status of households in the district. “The project goal,” he explains, “is to enable families to meet their basic needs to live on a sustained basis.”

A gift from their neighbour
christine-goat
Christine’s family was grateful to receive the animals from their neighbor Korina after her livestock had their first female offspring.

A mother of five, Korina was crippled in 2008 and had found it hard to support her family. She received her chicken, rooster and goat in the first World Vision distribution.

Korina has already started to see the benefits of raising her animals. The goat and chickens are a source of nutritious food and she has sold some for extra money. This income has helped her to pay for school uniforms for her children.

Dreams of a bright future
Christine has sold the rooster Korina gave her, earning 35,000 shillings (RM43). Christine’s youngest son Tony, aged five, is happy that his mother has been able to use the income from their new animals to buy food including beans and sesame seeds. She has also bought school uniforms for Tony’s older siblings Fiona and Jimmy.

Christine dreams of a bright future with the income from their animals. “If the goats and chicken multiply, I would love to open up more land to cultivate,” says Christine.

When Christine too passes on the first offspring of her hen and goat another family will be able to earn a better income and enjoy better nutrition.

Story courtesy of World Vision Australia.

How to use technology to be kind

By Heather Klinger
World Vision US

Let’s flip the switch on cyberbullying and instead focus on how to use technology to be kind. Can you help kindness go viral? October is National Bullying Prevention Month. We’ve collected some tools to help you keep your kids safe online and make their online world a kinder place, because building a better world for children is what we do.

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31

Five random acts of kindness using technology
1. Spread honey: “Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” – Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)  Write a public compliment on someone else’s social media post, video, or blog. Let them know what you appreciate or admire about them.

2. Share good news: Be intentional about sharing something inspiring this week, instead of letting social media be overrun with disasters in the news or the latest public controversy.

3. Connect: Skype with a relative or friend that lives far away. Focus on listening well. Ask them how they’re really doing and how you can pray for them.

4. Give a virtual hug: Show someone you are thinking of them. Send an ecard with an encouraging message.

5. Change the world: No matter how old your kids are, they can spread generosity that changes the world — and themselves.

Need scientific reasons for your random acts of kindness? Studies show that doing kind things for others actually makes us feel even better about ourselves – it releases serotonin in your brain.

Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
Bullying and cyberbullying aren’t fun topics to talk about with your kids. So what’s one easy lesson you can teach them about how they interact with others? Have them ask themselves these three questions before they say something:  Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? The simple reminder to think before you speak is very powerful.

How World Vision tackles bullying
bully
World Vision is empowering students in China to call on their local communities to put an end to violence and bullying. As part of World Vision’s “Zero Violence, Zero Bullying” activity, students learn what to do when they face violence and bullying. Then they trace their hands on a poster for others to sign as a commitment to support each other.

Resources on bullying and cyberbullying:
– Bullying can happen anywhere and to anyone. Help stop bullying at school, online, and in the community.
– Being a parent is tough enough. Keeping up with what your kids are doing online is another challenge. The Cyberbullying Research Center has materials and strategies to help you protect your children.
– Find out how you and your kids can get involved in National Bullying Prevention Month.

Story courtesy of World Vision US.

5 tips to becoming a life-changing letter writer

By Kay Yoke

In our age, letter writing seems old-fashioned. But, for Maya, Kay’s old-school traditional letter-writing transformed her life.

Here are Kay’s simple tips on being a letter-writer.

1. Schedule a time to write. Put a reminder on your calendar. Sponsored children often write back when they receive a letter from their sponsor.

2. Find a place to write: your kitchen table, or attic office where you will not be distracted.

3. Keep it simple and short. Write as if you’re writing to your niece, nephew, or grandchild.

4. Make it special. Including a simple and inexpensive gift is a great way to show you are thinking of your child. *Note* Send gifts that fit into an A4 sized envelope, taking into consideration weight, tax and delivery costs.

5. Make your letter heartfelt: encourage, praise, love, and pray.

Click here for our letter writing guide to help you to communicate with your sponsored child.

Story from worldvisionmagazine.org

World Vision, building a community savings culture

By Mike Puia
Communications Officer
World Vision International Solomon Islands

John He’ai is a young father from Siwapo Village in South Malaita. Married with five children, John is in his mid-30s and has lived most of his life in the village.

He earns a living by selling fish and mud crabs, using the cash he earns to buy basic items needed for life in the village.

Life is good but like others in his community, John has found it challenging to meet family commitments such as school fees, the cost of transport to send family members to the nearest clinic, and meeting community obligations such as funeral expenses.

“Our interest in savings started when we heard stories from nearby villages about the benefit of their savings club. They said it helped to pay for school fees and medical expenses,” recalls John.

Today, not only is John a member of a savings club, he is the chairman of his community’s saving group, the Rauimamu Savings Club.

“Before joining the savings club, I would keep all my family’s money at home. But it didn’t work out. We ended up spending the money on anything that came up. I would spend it on alcohol.

“These days I’m not interested in alcohol. I now have a habit of wanting to save,” says John

Whenever he makes a bit of cash, selling fish and mud crabs, John makes a point of setting a portion of it aside; to be deposited into his savings club account.

His savings club meets every two weeks and John is conscious of the days and time, as arriving late or missing a meeting will incur a fine.

Since joining the club, John has attended several training sessions organized by World Vision to help villagers manage their personal finance, as well as strengthen the role of committee members.

Heai

John He’ai (in the middle, holding on to the blue folder) with the savings group members from Siwapo village, who are members of the Rauimamu savings club.

Joining the group has made John feel secure. “The savings group helps me to keep my money safe and ready for emergencies. The only time I touch what I save is when I get a loan to make a big purchase,” John says.

Living so far from a commercial centre means that John doesn’t have access to a bank. Even if he did have a bank account, the trip alone would cost him the equivalent of a month’s fish sale.

“For us the Rauimamu savings group is our bank,” says John, proudly.

A savings culture

Since 2011, World Vision Solomon Islands with the support of the Australian Government has worked to improve the economic conditions and livelihood of 15 communities in Small Malaita through the Community Economic Development (CED) Project.

The creation of savings clubs has been a key part of the project and in 2015 World Vision partnered with the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme to increase the spread of savings clubs beyond Small Malaita, and into South Malaita.

In early 2016, a mid-term evaluation of the CED project reported that the savings club scheme was an “outstanding success” in Small Malaita.

The evaluation on the 15 communities, found that before the start of the project only 17% of parents were able to save money. By 2016, at the time of the evaluation, the figure had increased to 97% of parents.

Between January and June 2016 the cumulative value of savings groups reached SBD$110,173 (RM625,66).

The evaluation found that 32% of respondents also took part in World Vision’s financial training, which helped savings clubs members to manage finances.

To support savings clubs the project a number of Village Savings Agents were identified and trained.

One of the unintended benefits of savings club highlighted by the evaluation has been the dominant role of women in the savings clubs, of those representing households 52% are women in comparison to 42% of men and 6% of youth.

Story from wvi.org

Top 5 myths of Child Sponsorship

myth
By Rachael Boyer
World Vision US

When you were little, did you believe you could change the world? I did. I wanted to be part of the amazing work God is doing in the world. If you’re reading this, chances are you feel the same tug in your heart to help those in poverty and make a difference. But you may have some questions about the most effective way to do it.
Well, I invite you to take a fresh look at the most powerful way to fight poverty.

1.Myth: It’s an old-fashioned, outdated way of doing development work.
Truth: Child sponsorship is local, sustainable, and organic.
Those words are trendy now, but we’ve been taking this approach since the 70’s. We have local staff members who know the culture, customs, and community. Our agriculture programs promote organic farming. Sustainability and self-sufficiency are fundamental. It’s our goal to leave the community. Author and blogger Rachel Held Evans thought sponsorship was old fashioned too—until she saw our work in the field herself, and came away with a fresh perspective.

2.Myth: It’s not a “real” child. A hundred other people probably get a photo of the same child.
Truth: Each child in our sponsorship programs is matched with one sponsor.
With World Vision, you are the only sponsor for your sponsored child. They’re real children with real stories. You can get to know your sponsored child through letters and photos, packages, and email. You can even visit your sponsored child and see how your donation is helping transform their community. Here’s a story of a sponsor who did, and found that her sponsored child exists.

3.Myth: It won’t really make a difference.
Truth: It makes all the difference.
Sponsoring a child is even more powerful and life changing than you could have imagined. Former sponsored children have grown up to become doctors, teachers, pastors, farmers, social workers, engineers, business leaders, political leaders, and even Olympic athletes! But most of all, they grow up seeing the transformative power of God’s love through the actions of World Vision staff and the encouragement of their sponsors. Read some of their inspiring stories. God is at work in communities around the world. We’re joining him where the action is, and together, we’re bringing his kingdom – a kingdom where there is no sickness, or pain, or injustice.

Plus, on a practical level, giving a sustaining donation every month allows non-profits to budget and plan ahead. This means we can make a long-term investment in communities, instead of spending more time and money fundraising.

4.Myth: It’s just a temporary handout that will create dependencies.
Truth: Self-sufficiency is our primary goal for child sponsorship communities.
Let me tell you a story about the Chikwina-Mpamba community that I visited in Malawi. World Vision had been in the community for over 15 years, and by the time I visited in 2010, community members were proudly leading the programs, owned the office building, and were training other neighboring communities!

This community is a model of self-sufficiency. And this is not an isolated case. It’s how we do development work. We come along-side children, families, and communities. We listen to them, make an action plan together, facilitate them executing that plan, monitor progress together, make adjustments as needed, and celebrate success together.

If you want to get technical, learn more about our community development model.

5.Myth: My monthly donation goes straight to the child’s family.
Truth: Actually, because we believe the best way to change a child’s life is to help change the community they live in, we pool monthly sponsorship donations.
By combining your monthly gift with the gifts of other sponsors, corporate product donations, grants, and major gifts, we’re able to maximize the impact of your donation so each $1 you donate brings more than $1 in impact.

This way we can partner with communities to improve schools, clinics, water quality and sanitation, job training and opportunities for parents, and agriculture practices and nutrition. These things benefit your sponsored child, their family, and their entire community for years to come with way more impact than a direct handout. Learn more about how World Vision child sponsorship works.

Over the years, my family has sponsored several children, and enjoyed the letters, photos, community reports, and feeling of connection. I have visited World Vision’s sponsorship projects in 5 countries, and been amazed at the transformation I’ve seen. That’s why I keep working here. Child sponsorship works, and we are making a lasting difference.  We really are changing the world.

Story courtesy of World Vision US.

The gift of a buffalo restored this family

by Heather Klinger
World Vision US

Thirty-two-year-old Renu got married at the age of 14. After the sudden disappearance of her husband, Renu found herself in a hopeless situation — raising their three children alone and picking up scattered pieces of her broken family.

Embarking on the difficult journey of single parenthood, she resorted to extending her arms to anyone willing to loan her money to keep her children alive. Bit by bit, it stripped Renu of her dignity and pride.

“I lived in fear,” she says. “Where would I go with my kids? How would I raise them alone?”

Then Renu received one of 600 buffaloes distributed in her community as part of World Vision’s economic development program.

“The World Vision staff heard my story of struggle when no one paid attention,” Renu says. “They gave me a Chuja (buffalo) so that I could take care of my children’s well-being.”

Renu

The day mummy got Chuja Muna (buffalo) home I saw a smile on her face. Chuja was our precious gift when we had nothing,” says 10-year-old Vishal, Renu’s second son. “My sickness was because we didn’t have nutritious food to eat. Once Chuja came, we could afford good food. She brought me healing. I love Chuja Muna because she helped us stay in school.” (©2015 World Vision/photo by Annila Harris)

At first, Renu gave the milk to her children because they had been deprived of nutritious food. Then she started to sell the milk to buy vegetables, oil, and spices from the market. Next she bought new clothes for her children. And World Vision provided corrugated galvanized iron sheets to replace their hay roof.

“Joy had returned in our house,” says Renu.

Soon after, she started to wish for her husband’s return. She vividly remembers the day he called her after years of absence. At first she says she felt relieved he was still alive, then angry. But she says she knew she wanted her husband to come home.

“I felt I had let down my family, and I feared they wouldn’t accept me back,” 36-year-old Devinder says. He explains that he got the courage to call her when he heard how well his wife was taking care of their kids with the income from selling Chuja’s milk. “Her confidence gave me hope that nothing was impossible.”

“Chuja Muna brought him back,” Renu says. “She is our treasure. She glued all the scattered pieces of our family back together. All broken relationships — that of a father and his children, a husband and wife, a mother and her children — were restored again. Chuja is part of our family.”

You too can give the gift of farm animals to help a struggling family piece their life back together : Gift farm animals

Story courtesy of World Vision US.

Magical moments in the kitchen

by Laura Reinhardt
World Vision US

Cooking with your grandmother, sharing a meal with family—these are some of the special moments we look forward to during the Christmas season, or remember fondly from past holidays.

For 9-year-old Rosemary, the magic of cooking and eating together is a big part of her dream to become a chef!

See what’s making Rosemary’s dream possible.
***

When I was a little girl, the Christmas season meant a trip from our Midwest home to my grandmother’s house in North Carolina. That was such a special time for me. She always kept a jar of Hershey kisses in her kitchen, which she called silver bells. And best of all, she let me help her with holiday baking.

I would pull a chair up to the kitchen counter and watch the magic as she creamed the Crisco and sugar. Then she added the eggs. Sometimes she even let me crack one. And then there were the dry ingredients to be carefully measured, sifted, and poured into the sugar mixture.

She taught me that in making cakes, once the wet and dry ingredients were added together I needed to be very quiet to prevent the cake from falling. Or maybe she just used that as an excuse for a little peace and quiet. I was a very talkative child.

Cookies were my favorite, though. I loved dropping dough by the teaspoon onto the cookie sheet. I might’ve snuck a few of those, though I’m sure I wasn’t as stealthy as I thought.

And then best of all, she let me lick the beaters and the bowl. I’m pretty sure that was my main motivation to help her bake!

One Christmas, I had the crazy idea to melt wax and pour the liquid into cookie cutters to create ornaments. My grandmother didn’t hesitate. She pulled old candles out of drawers and melted them down. And they weren’t even that bad as ornaments.

But to a child, having an adult who took my ideas seriously and believed in me—that meant the world to me. Her faith made me think that I could dream big.

This year, I got to witness that same special bond between a young Zambian girl, Rosemary, and her grandmother, Patricia.

Rosemary longs to be a chef. “I dream in my heart,” she says. Patricia fuels that dream by encouraging Rosemary to cook for her extended family.

Rosemary

Rosemary’s specialty is nshima—a corn porridge that’s a staple in Zambia. Watching the process reminded me of those holidays in my grandmother’s kitchen.

Patricia pulls the pot from the rack. It’s a special pot that fits 9-year-old Rosemary’s petite frame. Rosemary gets water from a tap near the family’s home and sets the filled pot on the wood fire.

Once the water boils, she adds finely ground corn flour and immediately begins stirring. That’s important to prevent any lumps from forming. Rosemary stirs while the porridge is still runny, but as it thickens, Patricia takes over with her work-strengthened hands. They sing together—their voices rising in harmony—filled with the joy of being together.

Then Patricia pulls out a little salt and adds it to the nshima.

This is significant because not so long ago, Patricia and her husband, Danford, couldn’t afford even this most basic staple.

They struggled just to feed their family. Patricia and Danford both came from impoverished families, and their own followed the same path. Their grandchildren, like Rosemary, were destined to continue in poverty.

But life changed with a gift of just five goats from World Vision’s Gift Catalog.

“Goats actually change everything,” Patricia says. “Goats give health to a family. Goats give education to a family. Goats bring food to a family.”

Rosemary2

Before the goats, Danford and Patricia took any sort of work they could find to provide meager amounts of food. But it wasn’t enough.

Patricia also used to walk a couple of hours just to get clean water, which took her away from her children.

When Rosemary’s father, Justine, was a boy, he had to leave school. He couldn’t concentrate because of his hunger. But today, he sees more hope for Rosemary.

The goats came just in time for her.

They’re multiplying rapidly, so by the time Rosemary enters secondary school, there will be plenty of goats to sell to pay for her education.

World Vision’s child sponsorship came to Rosemary’s community not long after the goats. Because of sponsorship, her school has brand new latrines. Her family also got new mosquito nets, helping to reduce malaria.

And Rosemary won’t have to miss or be late for school because of getting water. Child sponsorship brought clean water to just steps away from her grandparents’ home!

All of this combined means she won’t have to give up on her dream.

And what’s her dream? She imagines herself working in a kitchen—preparing nshima for dozens and dozens of guests instead of only her family.

Rosemary is free to imagine this future because of the gift of goats, her sponsor, and her grandmother’s nourishment of that goal. Just like how my grandmother fed both my body and soul during those magical moments in her kitchen.

And after all, isn’t that a big part of the Christmas season—a child’s beautiful dreams? Consider giving Gifts of Hope here: https://www.worldvision.com.my/goh-catalogue

Story courtesy of World Vision US.

Rwanda: 20+ years after genocide

Callixte
After Callixte was part of a group that killed Andrew’s wife’s entire family, Andrew turned him in to the authorities. Callixte was imprisoned. And yet, after going through training in peace and reconciliation, the two men have been able to become as close as brothers again. (©2013 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

In April 1994, when Rwanda erupted into violence, neighbor turned on neighbor, family turned on family, and love turned to hate. The genocide turned friends, like Andrew and Callixte, into enemies. Rwanda was as ruined as any spot on earth — 800,000 people were brutally slaughtered in 100 days. How could the country ever overcome such hatred and horror? It would take a miracle.

World Vision began relief and development work in war-ravaged Rwanda in 1994. In 1996, when thousands of families began to return to their villages in Rwanda, World Vision started a reconciliation and peacebuilding department. Hostility slowly yielded to faith and forgiveness, restoring communities and relationships like that of Andrew and Callixte. Though they are now friends again, Andrew and Callixte endured a long road to healing.

“The process of forgiveness involves expressing how you feel and saying, ‘Now I want peace in my heart; please forgive me. I don’t want to keep connected to the bad memories of when you did evil to me. I don’t want to be a prisoner of my pain,” says World Vision’s Josephine Munyeli, who has worked in Rwanda’s peace and reconciliation programs for two decades. “When the memories come, I don’t want to be devastated by them. I want to be able to sleep.”

World Vision developed a reconciliation model that endures today: a two-week program of sharing intensely personal memories of the genocide, learning new tools to manage deeply painful emotions, and embarking on a path to forgiveness. The approach has been replicated all over the country and embraced by the government. Read more

Story courtesy of World Vision US.