by Michelle Chun
World Vision Malaysia
MALAYSIA: Cherish relationships, and do what you can. These are two pillars of Yong Wye Yee’s approach to life, and a belief she stands behind in everything she does.
Under World Vision’s Child Sponsorship Programme, Wye Yee currently sponsors 45 children from countries all over the world and writes regularly to them.
“I believe in writing letters, that through the relationship the child knows that miles and miles away there’s someone who cares about them,” she said.
Her first sponsored child, U. Munkherdene from Mongolia, graduated from the programme last year after 11 years of sponsorship. He left home to continue his studies in a vocational school.
Pulling out letters and photographs marking years of correspondence, Wye Yee said she was very touched when during a visit to Munkherdene’s hometown in Nalaikh in 2012, he shyly thrust a traditional purse into her hand.
“I was so touched when he gave me the gift,” she said, adding she had been surprised at how shy and reserved he was when she met him, as he was so open and expressive in his letters.
Over the years, as her career flourished, Wye Yee gradually sponsored more children each year. The 45 children she sponsors today hail from China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Laos, Lebanon, India, Mongolia, Thailand and South Africa.
“Why sponsor so many? Again, it’s back to philosophy and values. Also, World Vision is a good channel and trustworthy organisation. I ask myself: if I can do more, why not?”
An engineer by training and volunteer at heart, Wye Yee grew up wanting to make a difference in the lives of others and was actively involved in many charities and organisations.
“I was on the lookout to give back [to society] and when I found out about the Child Sponsorship programme back in 2002, I thought it was something good I could give to.
“I really liked the fact that it’s not a general donation, and that I could so easily and conveniently contribute to a child’s well-being,” she said.