Child Sponsorship

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!

How bikes are improving children’s education in South Africa

By Andrew Newmarch, Senior Portfolio Advisor – Southern Africa Team

How long did it take you to get to school when you were a child? In the old days kids usually walked to school, but today, it seems that many students get dropped off by their parents in SUVs. In Malaysia, life has definitely changed. The thought of letting your child walk 4-5 kms to school on their own would be unheard of.

In places like South Africa, this is the only way children can get to school to receive an education. But because of your child sponsorship, World Vision is changing this for thousands of children across the country.

Take this High School in the Giyani project of north-east South Africa for instance.

While in South Africa, I met Alive (yes, his real name!) He and his mates walk about four km’s each way to school every day. Not only is this unsafe, it means that students are spending most of their time travelling when they could be doing their homework or playing with friends. However, for Alive, this is not a long way compared to other students at his school.

“In fact, in South Africa as a whole, 11 million of the 17 million school children walk to school, with 500,000 of them spending more than four hours a day getting to and from school.”

An even bigger picture reveals that South Africa was placed 115th out of 144 countries with regard to children’s access to primary schools. It’s no wonder that only 40% of children who enrol in Grade one achieve a qualification higher than Grade nine.

So what is World Vision doing?

We have partnered with Qhubeka, World Bicycle Relief’s program, to provide bikes to students across our child sponsorship projects.

In the Giyani project where I visited last year, I participated in the unloading and registration of 490 bikes going to students, including sponsored children.

“When it all started, bikes only went to girls to be able to get to school. It was about access and opportunity. But because of the success, a shift has occurred to provide bikes to boys as well based on distance from school.”

Students undertake a contract to not only maintain the bike but to go to school – part of the incentive is that after two years they can keep the bike if they attend a sufficient amount of school in that time. They are also given basic maintenance training as well as a, helmet, padlock and pump.

How do I know it will make a difference?

Based on two other projects, their results show that attendance has increased from 35% to 82%, homework completed each day has increased from 24% to 88% and travel time has decreased for 72% of the students with bicycles to less than an hour.

Not only are fewer children missing important classes, the number of children who feel safe travelling to school has more than doubled.

But that’s not all. The bicycles are helping out our staff too.

Singita is one of the Community Care Agents who recently received a bicycle from World Vision. Singita, along with other volunteers like herself work with World Vision to monitor the needs of community members and sponsored children.

“Before I had a bike, I used to visit only five families a day, but now I can cover up to 12 families in a day,” she told me.

It’s great to see that the provision of a bike can transform the way the community operates and have such a significant impact on a child’s safety and education.

“For those 490 students now on bicycles in the Giyani project, I have no doubt they are on their way to a better education.”

Since I visited the Giyani project last year, the program has worked so well in that another 1,200 bikes will be delivered there this year. In addition, another 900 have been promised to the two other World Vision Sponsorship projects, Umzimkhulu and Ixopo, in 2016.

Support children like Alive, 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 .

Julia: The 14-year-old who works hard for change

Josephine Haddad, Communications Officer, World Vision Lebanon | 22 August 2017

It wasn’t odd for nine graders in Julia’s class to be speaking of engagements and weddings. Even two of her friends who aged only 14 years old were about to tie the knot. No matter how frequent these talks were among these young teenagers, Julia never stopped feeling like an outcast. She always thought that she was different, but she could never tell whether she was right or wrong – until she was introduced to World Vision (WV).

Julia is an active member in one of World Vision’s youth committees in Lebanon. With funds from Australia, many child-focused activities were being implemented by World Vision in several towns in the Akkar area – north Lebanon. Her uncle, who happens to be the town mayor, advised her to attend one of WV’s activities. “It was a session around violence against children,” she recalled. “I was absent-minded the entire way back home, after the event. I felt awful, because I sometimes hurt my younger brother, either by calling him names or hitting him.” Julia felt that she learned something valuable, and she felt the need to engage in more activities. Thus, she did and this is how Julia started her journey with World Vision, three years ago.

A series of questions passed through her mind: why are the instructors generous with the information they have? Why are they doing it for free? Mayada, a World Vision trainer, says that Julia stood out from the first time she attended a WV activity. “This girl is focused and a dreamer. She is exactly what we needed to start the change in this community,” stated Mayada. Julia understood the impact any good messenger could have on
his surroundings. “I learned from World Vision that if I share the information I have with one person only, I can make a difference.” Julia’s first step in sharing knowledge with her friends was after World Vision held a session around handwashing awareness. The following day, Julia took to school leaflets which show the different stages of handwashing and passed them to her classmates.

Nevertheless, the turning point for Julia was the day she was informed that their committee will be organizing a play, writing scripts, and performing in front of many attendees. “I told them I was open for suggestions in regards to the themes they choose, as long as they stick to the big title “Child Rights,” recalls Mayada. “I was surprised by how mature and smart these children are.” When it was time for Julia to pick a topic that is dear to her heart and child-related, she didn’t hesitate for a second before choosing Early Marriage. “I needed to raise my voice against something very common in my surrounding. I needed to tell the people around me that girls my age should study and play – not more.” Julia played the role of a young girl whose parents plan to marry her off to an
adult, and she was telling her secret to one of her friends. “I was overwhelmed with emotions. People were applauding before the scene ended,” she remembered. “My father still watches the play on video at least once a week; he is so proud of the messages I conveyed.”

Many activities left an impact in Julia’s heart after the play. One of them is her own suggestion– to paint on a big water tank, in the middle of the town, drawings about child rights. “I never felt as powerful as I do now because of World Vision. If I was able to spread awareness about several issues within these three years, imagine what all of us can do in one lifetime,” Julia stated.

The thought of World Vision ending its projects in Julia’s hometown saddens her; however, she is not worried. “World Vision gave me a treasure in these years. Teaching us about our rights is a life-long weapon,” said Julia who vowed to maintain this continuous work; even when she grows up and studies medicine. Her ultimate goal is to build a new hospital for her town, where all the people can receive treatment for free. “I dream of this because World Vision taught me to give a hand to the poor – especially the children,” said Julia who knows now that the speech of a 14-year-old should be full of powerful dreams and hopes for a better future.

Support children like Julia, 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 Vision heals a broken heart

By Mong Jimenez, Field Communication Specialist

On the day of hearts, let us discover the journey of a little girl who battled a severe heart condition. Thanks to World Vision, she was given the opportunity to heal her broken heart.

Crystal, then 7 years old, and her grandmother Dolores, who raised her since she was an infant.

It was 7 AM in Negros Occidental, Philippines. The morning sun had just emerged from behind the towering Mount Canlaon. Children with newly washed hair and bulky bags were heading to school – excitement and joy evident on their faces. One girl, however, sat idly outside her home as she watched her playmates pass by. She had been missing class for days already.

Crystal was 7 years old when we met her. A thin girl with tousled hair, she was mostly quiet. On that particular morning, she was worried because she was not able to submit her homework that was due three days ago. A run of dry cough broke her silence.

In the kitchen, Crystal’s grandmother Dolores was busy cooking scrambled eggs for breakfast but her mind was preoccupied with something else. “Crystal has been missing her classes because of her condition,” the grandmother worriedly shared. “It gets worse every day.”

Crystal has always been sickly. Her grandmother volunteered to raise and take care of her while both her parents work away from home. Her father, Ferdinand, is a security guard who earns the minimum wage each day. Her mother used to be a house helper but she stopped working to take care of Crystal’s siblings.

Crystal was accustomed to her recurring ailments. She usually went to school despite enduring a dry cough or a mild fever. But there were also days when she was forced to miss classes because of a severe flu or breathing complications.

Crystal was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease that causes many serious ailments like flu and pneumonia.

Worried about her granddaughter’s ailment, Dolores accompanied Crystal to the city hospital for a check-up. She was devastated when she learned that Crystal was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease. “According to the attending doctor, the heart disease was already present when she was born,” Dolores discussed. “It is the reason why she often got sick even when she was still an infant.”

The attending physician recommended a heart operation at the most immediate time to prevent other serious ailments to develop.

Dolores felt discouraged, knowing that a single heart operation would be too expensive for their family to afford. Crystal’s parents could not even buy a plane ticket to Manila, where the only public hospital that can offer cardiac surgery is located. Crystal’s parents were also shocked when they discovered the check-up result.

Every week that passed by was a struggle for Crystal and her family. Their accumulated savings were not enough to shoulder the heart operation and Crystal’s health got weaker significantly.

The situation seemed hopeless.

But somehow, a glimpse of hope shined upon Crystal when child-focused organization World Vision selected her as a sponsored child. She and thousands of other children in her community began benefiting from the organization’s development projects in education, health and nutrition, economic development, and disaster risk reduction. The sponsored children also became involved in regular child monitoring activities.

World Vision staff closely monitored Crystal after they learned about her condition. The organization helped shoulder her check-up and medical expenses whenever she developed a flu or a severe cough.

A World Vision Malaysia Youth Mobiliser plays with Crystal during a Philippine trip last November 2015.

On November 2015, a team from World Vision Malaysia visited Crystal’s community. They were saddened to hear about her condition during an interaction activity and left Crystal’s house full of sympathy and purpose. Crystal and her family were hopeful that help would come.

The World Vision team brought Crystal’s story to Malaysia and initiated a fundraising campaign for her heart operation. Thankfully, many supported the project and the team raised more than enough to cover Crystal’s heart procedure, including the hospital and transportation expenses. A schedule for a heart operation was set.

Crystal always carried her stuffed toy during her stay at the hospital.

On January 20 this year, Crystal, her grandmother, her father, and a World Vision Philippines staff travelled to Manila for Crystal’s heart operation.

The child, who has turned a year older, was admitted at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in preparation for her operation. She had to undergo several laboratory tests. According to her grandmother, Crystal remained calm and silent throughout the process. She carried a stuffed toy to make herself comfortable.

The day of Crystal’s operation finally arrived. Everyone in the room hoped and prayed for positive results. At around 7 AM, Crystal was brought to the operating room with her Lola Dolores at her side.

After three long hours, the family’s prayers were finally answered. An overwhelming feeling washed over Ferdinand when he heard that the operation was a success.

Today, Crystal and her grandmother are staying in Manila so they can return conveniently to PGH for regular check-ups. Their rent is also covered by the donated money. According to Dolores, Crystal can already walk and eat properly. She has become more energetic.

“This is an answered prayer,” Dolores zealously shared. “We never thought that God would use World Vision and other generous people to help Crystal. This is the greatest help that we have ever received and we will forever be grateful to everyone who made this possible.”

Support children like Crystal, 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 .

Student Beats Adversity with World Vision’s Assistance

Hloasi Motseki (22) leads a session in a classroom

By Atang Likotsi

Twenty-two-year-old Hloaisi Motseki of Lesotho is not a typical university student just pursuing his dream vocation. For his is a story of a grief-stricken youth whose dream is resuscitated when the odds seemed staked against him. Motseki vividly remembers his fears after the death of his parents.

“With the passing away of my parents, both father and mother in 2003 and 2005 respectively, I saw my childhood dream of becoming a doctor fade before my eyes. Being the youngest of four children, I could not imagine life without my parents… all hope was lost,” says Motseki.

But Motseki is in University today, thanks to World Vision Lesotho, who mobilised well -wishers locally to pay for his tuition fee, meals, transport, rent and other expenses. The funds enabled him to pursue a six-month bridging course in Journalism at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.

“During my time of grief, I spent most of my time writing poetry, music and literature to find comfort. Soon I realised my passion lay in writing. I decided to follow my heart and pursue a career in Journalism in spite of fears I might not attain my dream” says Motseki.

It was during these difficulties that Motseki developed compassion to improve his community, and took an interest in Developmental Issues. This led him to participate in a World Vision Children’s Committee workshop where he was immediately spotted as an intelligent and passionate young person.

“I was recognised as one who could represent other children during World Vision Lesotho national office Strategy Launch. It was during this event that a high ranking government official promised to provide me with financial assistance to further my studies. However, the official failed to deliver on his promise.

It is against this backdrop that the World Vision Lesotho team, with the guidance of its Advocacy and Child Protection team, mobilised the organisations’ Pitseng Area Program Manager and his team to solicit funds locally for Motseki.

“Based on my background of financial struggle, I could not imagine myself sitting in a lecture room at any university. But after the financial assistance mobilised by World Vision staff, my dream was resuscitated. The joy I am feeling is beyond measure. Like most young people my age, I am finally doing what I love,” says Motseki with a smile.

Motseki is presently enrolled at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, where he is honing his skills in creative writing through a BA (Hons) in Broadcasting & Journalism. He remains an active member of World Vision Lesotho Youth Committees.

He writes for World Vision Lesotho’s Children’s Voice Newsletter, participates in workshops, and represents children in many events at district and national level. Above all, he believes a future as a leader awaits him.

Support children like Motseki, 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 .

Stopping drought’s impact: Greenhouses in Lesotho help AIDS orphans

By Makopano Semakale

Greenhouses produce food for AIDS orphans during drought in Lesotho

Their dream is simple – to feed their children.

The drought which has consumed the country for the past six months has put more than half a million people, or a quarter of the population, at risk. The price of food and animal feed has more than doubled.

Yet, in Matelile, in southern Lesotho, a farmers’ group has not been deterred.

Instead of sitting and waiting for hand-outs, the Raohang Lesoma Farmers’ Association came together and built a greenhouse, putting into practice what they learnt from training provided by World Vision.

“We are devoting all our energies to the greenhouse because we can already see a future. We see ourselves feeding our families and, most importantly, helping the orphaned and vulnerable children under our care, as well as selling the surplus that we have grown,” says Mr Motlatsi Maile, Chairperson of the Farmers’ Association.

One in every 6 children in Lesotho is orphaned and more than half of those children have parents who died from HIV/AIDS. The situation forced many adults, like Motlatsi, to care for children and grandchildren. The Raohang Lesoma Farmers’ Association currently has 25 members who care for more than 100 orphaned and vulnerable children.

“I personally could see danger awaiting us if we did not take action. I could see poverty written all over our faces and those of our children,” Motlatsi says.

The idea started at the very height of the drought in October last year.

“We realised if we did not do anything, we were going to die of hunger…because the drought had affected everyone, asking for food from anyone was embarrassing. We then decided we will all come together to do something to help ourselves,” he says.

“We had to work hard to keep the members together and it was not easy because people were hungry and needed food immediately.”

“We realised if we did not do anything, we were going to die of hunger…
We then decided we will all come together to do something to help ourselves”

 

Many members were not sure whether what they were doing could take them anywhere. Even as they worked the land, their hopes were very slim because then rain had become little more than a memory.

The greenhouse was started and completed at the peak of drought in December 2014 and the farmers are currently selling produce from the greenhouse.

Some 18 members of the association went to two training courses. The first explained what a greenhouse is and the second was on how to maintain it.

After that, the Association used close to $10,000 to construct the greenhouse, complete with an irrigation system.

Members have since made a schedule for maintaining the greenhouse.

Each day, two people go to the greenhouse to ensure that produce is harvested for people who want to buy it. They use organic manure which is collected from animal sheds around the village and making it very cheap.

“Some members were beginning to lose hope in what we were doing, but thanks to World Vision, we were motivated by the greenhouse idea and now it seems to be working very well. You can see it is green amidst the extreme heat. We are able to sell some of our produce to other communities and our dream is to produce more. We are selling our produce to big supermarkets,” Motlatsi says.

Support these AIDS orphans from Lesotho, who deserve 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 today.

How three young boys survived South Sudan’s conflict alone

James*, Stephen and David look like any three brothers. They play Tumgbali – a game involving throwing small stones in the air and catching them – together, laughing. They like to play football together, they say, and going to school.

But these three boys, just 13, 12 and 8 years old, have already been through so much. Last year they fled South Sudan after their parents were killed in the ongoing conflict, and they arrived in Uganda alone.

It was a normal December day when the boys’ parents went to work spreading cassava seeds in the bush. The children could never have imagined that was the last time they would see them alive.

While they were gone, shots could be heard being fired near where their parents were working. A neighbour went to check on them, only to find their bodies shot dead. He took the boys in and looked after them, but when the killings intensified in January this year, he refused to flee.

James, only 13 years old, believed it was the best possible chance of survival for he and his brothers, so he decided they would go alone. They packed only one small bag each, and ran.

It’s impossible to imagine how hard that decision must have been for someone so young. To take responsibility for his brothers, while still just a child himself.

Thankfully, James and his brothers are now being cared for by a foster family, thanks to the help of World Vision. Another refugee family has taken them in – an unbelievable act of generosity.

And it’s generosity that characterises the response to this refugee crisis. From the refugee families themselves, to the hard work of NGO staff – many of whom have lived in tents in the camps for months on end – to the Ugandan government.

When they arrive across the border, each family is given vaccinations, food rations and a plot of land. They’re encouraged to settle, get jobs, plant food and send their kids to school, but they’re free to move on if they want to. There are no restrictions. Space has even been left in the settlements for refugees who get married and start a family, so they can have land of their own.

That generosity extends further still to host communities; we heard of Ugandans asking for more refugees even though it means sharing already scarce resources.

It’s the kind of radical kindness that offers hope for the future – and James can’t wait to make the world a better place; responding in kind to the generosity he’s been shown.

When he grows up, he wants to become President of South Sudan. With his smart shirt buttoned up all the way to his neck, it’s not hard to imagine.

He knows already what his first law will be: “I will tell everyone to cooperate with each other,” he says. “All people come here because of war. I want there to be no war when I become President.”

And his brothers? They’ll help him in his new role, James says. “It feels good for us to be together.”

Support children like James*, Stephen and David, who deserve 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 or donate to the South Sudan crisis relief.

Soccer for Syrians: Bringing football to the children of Azraq

Simple things like giving children a safe place to run around and express themselves makes a huge amount of difference to refugees living far from home. From the exhilaration of scoring a goal and working as a team, to the comfort of finding emotional support, children and staff share the ways they’re benefitting from the football pitches we’ve built in Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp…

13-year-old Shaima (centre) loves coming to the pitches to play football – something she’d never done until she came to Jordan.

“I like coming to the football pitches to meet friends. I like to play football and I come here every day, I’ll even be back in the evening later to play again!” she says.

It’s currently school holidays in Azraq. There is a long break from football from about 12pm to 4pm during the heat of the day, but then football sessions resume in the cooler evening. “I encourage the other girls to play football as it keeps us active.”

“I used to play for a famous football team in Syria called Al-Karamah. We got to the semi-finals in the Asian champions league in 2006,” says Akram. He has been in Jordan for two and a half years, coaching the boys’ teams and the older youth team.

“I was a kid once and I had football coaches and they were my idols. Now I have some experience and I can be a good example for these boys.”

“The best thing about being a coach is putting a smile on the children’s faces. This generation has been deprived of so many things. It’s a bit of compensation for them, to give them hope. The boys release their energy when they play football that could otherwise lead to aggression.”

“It’s a beautiful thing that there are Syrian refugees in the Olympics. It’s good that people still have determination to compete. When they eventually go back to Syria, the athletes will take those achievements back to Syria with them.”

11-year-old Yaman is from Damascus, Syria and has been in Azraq refugee camp for almost two years. Ever since the football pitches opened for business last November, they and Yaman have been inseperable.

“I’ve made a lot of friends playing football at the pitches. I love all my friends. My best friend is Yehia, he plays in another team.”

World Vision distributes juice and bars made from dates to children attending formal schools in Azraq camp, and they give children like Yaman energy to play football and to enjoy themselves.

“We’ve memorized the food pyramid. Eating good food is important. I know carrots strengthen your eyesight!”

Of Syrian refugees competing in the Olympics, Yaman says – “If they win gold we will be very proud. They are heroes and we are very proud of them.”

Raja is from Dar’a, Syria and has a two-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son. She’s been living in Azraq camp for two years but has been a football coach in the camp for just two months.

“It’s beautiful for the girls to play football. I used to enjoy playing football back in Syria, and liked it more than any other game as a girl.”

“I enjoy teaching the girls. I feel like they are my children. The girls come and play and release their energy. Some girls come to the pitches feeling sad and release their energy and feel better”

For Raja, the football pitches not only bring children together, but also offer them a place of emotional support.

“The girls talk to me about their problems, they open up to me. I cry with them sometimes.”

12-year-old Omar originally came to Azraq from Damascus, Syria.

“It makes me happy that there is a place to play football in the camp and I’ve been playing on the pitches since they opened. I feel happy when I score a goal but I enjoy playing football and spending time here, even if we don’t win.”

As the crisis in Syria continues, an important part of our ongoing response is to support refugees who have sought safety in the surrounding region. In addition creating facilities at Azraq refugee camp, we’ve been providing remedial education for children, distributing food and water vouchers and running child friendly spaces to ensure vulnerable children get the support they need.

Support these children from Azraq, who deserve 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 or donate to the Syria crisis relief.

This grandma in Congo saves granddaughter through locally available malnutrition busters

Wednesday, December 21st 2016

Worried of her granddaughter’s health, 61-year old Seraphine Dana joins World Vision training for mothers and finds solution through locally available malnutrition busters.

Séraphine Ali was born three months and three weeks premature. Her mom died after delivering her after six months of pregnancy. She has a twin but she died at birth. Séraphine, now three months old, was frail and sickly. Under the care of her 61-year old Grandmother Seraphine Dana, feeding her was a struggle. “It was difficult to feed my granddaughter as healthy food suited for infants is extremely expensive,” said Seraphine Dana.

“I got concerned when my granddaughter started losing weight. I was worried of losing her after I lost her mother,” added Séraphine Dana. A widow, she is jobless and found it difficult to work and earn some money to support her family. “I used to earn selling water to get enough to provide for the needs of the house. Now I cannot leave her behind and nobody to take care of her,” she explained.

“I do not worry of Seraphine Ali any more. I have learned a lot for my family to survive”

To help address this nutrition deficiency in the community, World Vision works in association with community-based organizations to improve children’s health and increase those who can properly read, write and calculate at the end of their primary schooling. The Fondation Famille D’accueil (FOFAD) is one of the community-based organizations that World Vision supports. The organization takes care of 300 malnourished children in the community, along with their families. When Séraphine Dana learned about World Vision’s assistance, she decided to contact FOFAD to check the nutritional situation of her granddaughter and seek help.

Her resourcefulness paid off. Séraphine Dana got trained on preparing healthy food for infants and young children. She learned how find local ingredients that provided children with a balanced diet. She learned that “masuso” – a mix of corn, sugar and soya – can help maintain the health of her granddaughter. Together with Seraphine, 375 mothers also trained on preparing nutritious food for their children using local resources.

Gallery: How we’re tackling child malnutrition in DRC

Putting to use all the knowledge she learned, Séraphine Dana watched as her granddaughter started to grow up. “Now, my granddaughter is healthy. She gained weight from eating a mixture of corn, sugar and soya. All this I learned after the training by FOFAD supported by World Vision,” says Séraphine Dana.

“I do not worry of Seraphine Ali any more. I have learned a lot for my family to survive,” Séraphine Dana says. World Vision, through FOFAD, has provided the families to generate income through small livelihood projects made possible by the support of the savings group program.

According to Mbuta Mafuta, the National Nutrition Coordinator for Gemena, the levels of malnutrition in the area has several levels:

  • 9.5% acute
  • 47% chronic
  • 26% with weight insufficiency

Dr. Ngenda Chiza Phillipe, and epidemiologist and World Vision’s Health and Nutrition Advisor, says the main causes of the children’s health problems are related to under-nutrition and deficiencies in micro-nutrients.

Read or watch a video about the “grandmother-inclusive approach”

Support children like Séraphine Ali, 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 or donate to Health and Nutrition fund – through World Vision’s Gifts of Hope today!