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A Small Gesture from the Heart

A Big Difference to a Child’s Future (Part 3)

World Vision Sponsors’ Visit to YongSheng ADP, China (25 Mar – 1 Apr 2012)

by Jesper Chang

Day 2 ADP visit:

This would be the happiest and most memorable day of my entire trip to YongSheng.

Why?

Because this was the day I was going to meet my sponsored child. After sponsoring her for 5-years (beginning in 2008), I was finally going to meet her for the very FIRST time.

We began our trip into Shui Jing village that morning. Thereafter, we entered a community hall where we waited for our sponsored children to arrive.

When I first saw her walking in with her mom, I knew that was her. My heart skipped a beat, I was lost for words and I didn’t even know how to react. She was so different from her photo – different in a sense that she looked very mature and seemed to have grown exceptionally taller. But she was still who she was – my dear sponsored child. I immediately shook hands with her, and took pictures with her and her family.

Jesper

Couldn’t wait & just had to take a shot with my sponsored child, Yu Xiang upon meeting her for the very first time at the Community Centre

We exchanged greetings before World Vision staff organised a lunch for us and the families. What a great plan! Thank you, World Vision for organizing it this way.

Jesper

Lunch time with Yu Xiang, her parents, child sponsors and World Vision staff

Jesper

A family portrait with Yu Xiang and her family

As I am illiterate in Mandarin, I was very lucky to have 3 sponsors who were very willing to lend a hand in becoming my “official translators”. I felt like a V.V.I.P that day 🙂

After lunch, we proceeded to her school in the township of Guanghua where again, we met up with the rest of the other kids and interacted with them through games and sharing.

But the time that I was really looking forward to, was the one-to-one meet-up session for every sponsor and his / her sponsored child. And when my time came, I was all too eager to proceed with it. We were ushered into an empty classroom, where the World Vision YongSheng staffs were at hand to act as translators too (due to the different accents of Mandarin). Together with my 3 “official translators”, we all sat down and I began to present her the gifts I bought for her. Her eyes beamed with joy when she opened the presents one by one. We explained to her what some of the gifts are and showed her how to play with some of the games, and she even wrote a Thank You note for me there and then itself.

Jesper

The one-to-one meet up session. Thank you Karen, Eloise & Catherine for being my interpreters!

Jesper

Karen, Eloise & Catherine being as helpful and patient as ever in helping with the translation throughout the session

Alas, like all happy journeys, all good things must come to an end. And the time to say goodbye and bid farewell came soon after. I took this opportunity to take a few more shots with her and used the last few minutes to give her a warm inspirational chat. At the last few seconds I shook hands with her and gave her a warm hug before she made her way back to her class. I promised her that I would come back to see her again when World Vision organize another trip to YongSheng in the future. Even as she walked back to her class, she turned and looked back at me a few times.

I’ve always been a strong person, but on that day, I felt really emotional and tears did flow a little. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay and talk to her more, I wanted to guide her through her studies, teach her new things, play games with her – but I know it’s just not possible. The time has come and I had to let her go.

Sitting in the jeep on the way down and back to the hotel, many thoughts raced through my mind. Visions of my sponsored child and the “very few moments” that we had together came flooding back. Tears started to flow again. I do not know when I’ll be able to come back to see her again. But one thing I know is, the events & memories which took place today, I will cherish forever in my heart.

A Small Gesture from the Heart

A Big Difference to a Child’s Future (Part 2)

World Vision Sponsors’ Visit to YongSheng ADP, China (25 Mar – 1 Apr 2012)

by Jesper Chang

Day 1 ADP visit:

Prior to departing to our first designated venue, we stopped by World Vision’s YongSheng Office for an introduction session of the YongSheng ADP by its very friendly ADP Manager, Mr. James Leong. We were showed round the office, from its administration centre to its training rooms and even the dorms – which are used to provide lodging to students, staffs and visitors. After almost 2 hours at the centre, we began our journey to our first destination.

Today’s agenda was to visit the Liude Primary School. This school is situated somewhat on a hilltop, and the remaining 500m to the school was excruciatingly bumpy due to the rocky & sandy road.

Once we arrived at the school compound, we were surrounded by the many kids that were all too eager to meet us. Comprising mainly of primary school children, they were extremely enthusiastic when they saw us walk into their school grounds.

Pei Ling, our ever helpful tour and organizing team leader, gave an opening speech, thereafter, we joined the kids in playing games, interacting and taking photographs with them. It truly surprised me that many of them were actually very good at posing for shots – especially the girls!

While some of the team members met up with their sponsored child, I made my way out to the school compound and met up with the headmaster of the school (really neat guy!) and asked him questions about the school’s facilities and what the government and World Vision has done to assist them – and I must say the things he told me were very convincing. I was extremely impressed when he showed me the school’s Computer Lab. Flat screen monitors and high performance CPUs, coupled with internet access – now that’s an eye-opener for me, for a school that’s located deep in the woods & mountains of YongSheng County.

I was told that YongSheng has suffered drought for the past 3 years, and there hasn’t been a drop of rain since then. That said, the government has implemented water rationing for most of its areas – including schools. It broke my heart when I saw the kids queuing up and taking turns to feed themselves with water when “drinking time” came. My dad even wanted to give them his mineral water bottle but the official said it would be of no use. There just wasn’t enough to be passed around.

Our session ended at approximately 4.20pm when we had to bid farewell to the kids. We shook hands, took last minute pictures with them and said our goodbyes before boarding our vehicles for the long way down again.

Jesper

Briefing in progress at World Vision’s YongSheng Program Office with ADP Manager, Mr. James Leong

Jesper

The children at Liude Primary school. Didn’t I say they were photogenic 😉

Jesper

Our team members having fun with the kids

Jesper

The impressive & real neat-looking computer lab

A Small Gesture from the Heart

A Big Difference to a Child’s Future (Part 1)

World Vision Sponsors’ Visit to YongSheng ADP, China (25 Mar – 1 Apr 2012)

by Jesper Chang

Preamble:

25th March 2012 marks the day that will change my life forever.

It was to be the beginning of a week long adventure that would be filled with joys, tears and passion for me & everyone that was involved.

Since becoming a child sponsor (for a little girl in Yongsheng) with World Vision Malaysia back in 2008, I have always longed for the day when I would have the chance to meet my sponsored child face-to-face. And thanks to World Vision Malaysia – my wish came through in late December last year when I received an email from them announcing they will be holding a Child Sponsorship visit to Yongsheng in March 2012.

I wasted no time in signing-up for the trip because I did not want to miss out on this golden opportunity. I was told that the next probable time for the same trip to happen would mostly take another 3-4 years, and maybe even up to 6 years – so I had to go this time.

So, with 11 other participants and 2 World Vision Malaysia staff – and armed with a bagful of gifts & presents which I bought to give to my child –  I started my journey on an 8-day excursion trip to Yongsheng, China on what would become the most memorable and adventure-filled trip of my entire life.

For this trip, I decided to take my dad along – for one sole reason –  to let him see what World Vision was doing, how they operate, and most importantly, to show him who my sponsored child was and why I was so passionate to get involve in the child sponsorship program.

Hence, on a slightly cloudy but sunny morning of 25th March 2012, our entire entourage took to the skies and made our way to chilly Kunming. Flight touched down at 1:10pm, and we had to endure a 3-hour wait at the airport before boarding our connecting flight to the beautiful city of Lijiang.

After spending a night in Lijiang, we began our long journey into YongSheng in 4-wheel drives & accompanied by World Vision Yongsheng office staff. The journey through treacherous mountain roads and uneven grounds gave me a sore back but was well worth it as the scenery along the way was truly magnificent. If you love the outdoors and photography is your passion, then the mountain roads of China is for you!

Jesper

The treacherous mountain roads leading towards YongSheng. You’ll have to be a real skillful driver to navigate these roads

Jesper

The concrete bridge that connects Lijiang to YongSheng

马来西亚世界宣明会儿童助养计划中国黎平探访之旅 – 寻找你、我、他的足迹

by Cheah Wai Kit

非常的难得有机会去到黎平和他(我的助养童)见个面。还没出发之前,我每天都在倒数那天的来临,似乎要赶紧去那儿感受他们的生活!这是我人生中难忘的一次经验,为期7天之旅,坐了四趟的飞机,应该坐了超过三十个小时的车程,寻找你、我、他的足迹。

我,马来西亚世界宣明会同工和这次之旅的助养人在机场见了个面!还没上飞机之前,在小聚会中有了这么的一个想法。我们每个人有不一样的背景,不一样的生活习惯,不一样的学历,不一样的工作,有很多的不一样,但是因为有‘他’ 我们聚集在一起,朝着同一个目标和方向,为一群小孩子们寻找他们心中的那个他!

Wai Kit

我是助养人!即将开始我们这四天的探访生活。

Wai Kit

黎平的风景是如此的美丽。

黎平是中国侗疆的腹地。位于贵州省东南边缘,地处黔、湘、桂三省(区)交界处,是贵州东进南下的前沿。全县辖25个乡镇(10镇15乡),总面积4441多平方公里,总人口50.3万人,是全国侗族人口聚居最多的县。这里真的非常美丽和灵静,是中国少数民族的家,大多数的村落都是在山上,风景如画般的优美。

Wai Kit

小朋友们的欢迎队伍。

来到了第一个村庄,这里的欢迎仪式已令我无法忘记。无论是大人和小孩,大家都非常的用心欢迎我们的到来,当时真的有点感动到落泪。以上的那张照片就是估计有百名的小朋友晒着大大的太阳列队来欢迎我们。口中还声声的大喊‘欢迎,欢迎,热烈欢迎’。小朋友们清纯的脸孔,可爱的笑容和天真的心,早已令我心动。心想我只是区区每月付去的五十令吉,他们却如此的热烈欢迎我们的到来,这劳师动众的仪式我真的感觉受宠若惊。对他们而言可能这区区的五十令吉已是很大的帮助。在此我诚心的呼吁大家,希望大家能加入助养人的行列,为这群小朋友们带来一点的曙光。

Wai Kit

我和我的助养童见面的时候。

Wai Kit

我和他的合照。

这就是我在这旅途中最期待的一刻,和我的助养童会面真的非常难得。他身穿运动服,个子不小(差不多快要高过我了),我一下小巴士就认出他来了。对我而言一点都不陌生,反而还有那亲切感,但是就不懂如何的说话。平时话很多的我在那时刻真的感觉自己有点陌生,还好有世界宣明会同工的帮忙,气氛没有如此尴尬。他话也不多,有点害羞,可能第一次见我的关系吧!这一次也有机会看看他的宿舍,我也不晓得如何去形容我当时的感觉。非常简陋的宿舍,有大概十张的双层床,没有书桌,没有衣橱,有一张薄薄的床垫,床垫上有一堆的书和一个杯子,杯子里面有牙刷和牙膏。那时我只问了一句,你的其他东西呢!他回了我一句,这就是我所有的东西了。

回想有很多人生活在城市里,但每天都在抱怨,但对这小朋友来说有的上学已经很知足了。这是多么惭愧啊!虽然见面只有那短短的半个小时,但对我来说,你已更新了我人生的一页。诚心的祝福你,好好地把书念好和照顾妹妹及奶奶,我想如再有机会一定会再去看你。

最后我真的想和所有的助养人说,我知道大家都忙于自己的生活和工作,但不妨抽出一点的时间亲笔写一封信慰问一下,这对他来说是多大的鼓励啊!我知道他的回信可能要等二至三个月。但我享受期待所带来的感觉,你呢?

Wai Kit

Wai Kit

令人感动的时刻。

以上的这张照片是我们那一天最后探访的一个村子了。我们的小巴士已经走了好几个山头了,但村名们还在那儿晒着太阳的招手。这幕真的非常让人感动,因为他们大多数都上了年纪。我们非常的不好意思,因为他们坚持要送我们到村口,有些婆婆还背着他们的孙子。在巴士上大家都在议论纷纷在这村的学校所看到的一张纸。纸上是这样写的:

世宣会到我村行,引进资本到我村,
村里容颜变了样,建个校门古续今,
硬化教室学子好,围了龙塘人安平,
儿童健康受重视,老少和睦喜事成,
今日携手同共建,这个节目很宽心,
和和睦睦把节过,万家欢乐一家亲,
今日同过节日好,往后继续来扶贫,
扶持我村很感谢,感谢你们的恩情。

Wai Kit

马来西亚世界宣明会同工,马来西亚中国黎平助养人,中国世界宣明会同工和黎平项目办的同工们的一张道别大合照。这七天真的谢谢你们的招待,我们一定会再回来看你们。

我 喜欢这次寻找足迹之旅,也爱上了这喜欢。看到这群小朋友非常专注和开心的在玩,无忧无虑,那种感觉,一个字,帥﹗这群助养人也放下城市的压力,那种感觉, 还有另一个字能形容:棒﹗这次之行真的令我获益良多,也让我的生活经历又增添新的观感。这次之旅令我学习了许多,也更加了解世界宣明会儿童助养计划的整个过程。儿童助养计划的宗旨,在于为生活在水深火热之中的儿童及他们的家庭和社会点燃新的希望,并为他们的生活带来改变。这些资助不但能协助解决贫困孩童所面对的困难及疾病问题,还能让他 们感受到关爱及发掘本身所具备的独特潜质。真得非常感谢马来西亚世界宣明会!希望大家都能为这个社会出一份力,大家携手为这些孩子建造一个更美好的世界。

只需要一个月RM65就能助养一名儿童,写信给他们并在世界宣明会安排的探访团去探访儿童。今天就登记成为助养人吧,马上浏览www.worldvision.com.my或拨 03 7880 6414以获知更多详情。

From a Sponsor’s Heart (Part II)

By Chew Sue Lee

It’s refreshing to see the community in action, especially when you live in the city where individualism takes first place. We stayed at one of the communities one of the nights, and after dinner, we had fellowship with the community. Obviously that place being the only place where there was electricity, it was where everyone gathered. And we had fun together. How different it is from us being at our homes, where every family is in their individual houses, and every family member is in their own room! 


SL

Meeting my sponsor child and her mom was really special. She’s a really sweet girl whose mom obviously loves her very much. Margareta is no longer just a name to me but a person with a face, with a history and a story. Perhaps that’s the value of joining World Vision’s child sponsorships programme versus just paying a donation to a community. Because in having a sponsor child, at least for me, i feel not only compassion and a desire to help my kid, but the whole community. Because I know that if the community my child lives in is in dire straits, then my child too can’t move very far in life. We know that most times poverty is not so much an individual problem, but a societal problem caused by failed social structures, systems and flawed leaders. I guess that’s why God calls us to seek justice for all, and to usher in His Kingdom. We all have roles to play and perhaps for some of us it’s doing the work, but for some of us, it would be providing the resources for others to do the bulk of the work.


SL

Sue Lee and her sponsored child, Margareta

Being in Indonesia and talking to some of them villagers also helped me look at Indonesian workers in Malaysia in a different light. They are people with stories, with perhaps difficult backgrounds, and they have families whom they are trying to give a better living to. I guess it’s true that unless you step into a person’s shoes, you can never pretend to know what their life is like and the kinds of things they are dealing with.

I can learn to be more emphatic towards them.

SL

I hope more people will consider sponsoring a child through World Vision. We live a blessed life and we too easily take things for granted – no water for 10 minutes…”WHAT?!” The daily amenities we have each day, should be and is cause for great thanksgiving.

Cheers, Sue Lee

From a Sponsor’s Heart (Part I)

By Chew Sue Lee, Child Sponsor

The Singkawang Sponsor visit spanned over 5 days in December. We were in Pontianak/Singkawang visiting the many community projects handled by World Vision or Wahana Visi (as the Indonesians call the organisation).

A bulk of the projects curently focuses on providing clean water to the communities, by helping them to build water tanks. Amazingly the water is clean and fresh as it comes straight from the source up in the mountains. Before these tanks, many of the communities had to transport unclean water from a far away river, consuming much of their time. They had no toilets and no running water, and that in itself is a cause of many health problems such as diarrhea etc. There are many more communities without running water but the communities themselves are now seeking to help their neighbors obtain fresh water supply.

SL

World Vision also helps to set up kindergartens (also know as PAUDs = Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini) at these little villages. Providing pre-school education for the rural children is important because without it the children really struggle when they enter primary school. Of course World Vision also works hard to encourage children to finish at least their primary school education as many drop out due to the usual reasons of “it’s more profitable to work than study” or because children have to take care of their siblings, or it’s too difficult to get to school (some children walk over an hour to get to school, no matter the weather).
The situation is even bleaker for those wanting to finish secondary school as they have to pay monthly school fees which many of them can’t afford. Other things World Vision helps with, is teaching them how to save and invest in the local credit union (even little children!), as well as simple but important things like providing mosquito nets to families.

SL


What’s cool with World Vision’s work there is that they work hand in hand with the community. So whatever good that comes out of the village is a credit to the people there as well since without them, nothing can be accomplished. They are the ones to build the water tank, to dig the trenches for the pipeline, to build the school etc. World Vision just provides the resources, the expertise and the support. So it’s cool to see World Vision working together with the people, empowering them to improve their standard of living for a better future. The World Vision field staff there are amazing people who are full of passion for the work and for the people they are serving. Theirs is not an easy job!


SL


The children Malaysians sponsor benefit from all these World Vision projects, obviously, and our RM65 or 80/month perhaps goes further when collected together to be used for the community, rather than just as a handout for the children. And what amazed me about these communities is that in talking to the adults, you don’t get the sense that they pity themselves. They have a lot of dignity and even though they are less fortunate, they are generous people, and full of love and care for each other.

Cheers, Sue Lee

p/s do look out for Part II of Sue Lee’s story in Singkawang!