Following the death of both her parents, Preaw found comfort in an unlikely source — a bow and arrow.
Preaw’s father died when she was 8; her mother passed away soon after. By then, Preaw was a World Vision sponsored child in her community in Thailand.
Preaw and her younger sister went to live with their uncle. When she was in sixth grade, a cousin introduced her to the sport of archery.
“Archery requires concentration and accuracy,” says Preaw, now 21. “I like archery because it helps me in my concentration.”
The thrill of hitting a target dead on became Preaw’s mission. As she continued her education, she practiced consistently in her extra time.
Preaw started to win local competitions and was selected to attend regional events. As she continued to excel, she traveled internationally, and her Canadian sponsor helped pay for contest entry fees.
In 2007, Preaw represented Thailand in the 24th Southeast Asian Games, where she won a bronze medal in recurve archery at a shooting distance of 70 meters. Next came the World Archery and Para Archery Championships in 2011 — and she’s not done yet.
“I’m not skillful yet. I still have much training to do,” says Preaw.
Her commitment to her sport is equaled to her commitment to her education. She loves to study and is not willing to miss school even for one day. Now a third-year student at Rattanabundit University in Bangkok, Praew is majoring in science and technology.
When there are no classes, she teaches archery to children interested in her sport, earning money for personal expenses and to contribute to her younger sister’s plans to attend nursing school.
“World Vision has given me love and support all along, advice in my studies and for my family,” Preaw says. “I really can’t imagine what my life would be like without [her sponsor] and World Vision.”
Violence can be hidden under the intention to educate or correct, but there are other more effective ways to raise children with love.
Raising children with tenderness asserts his dignity and strengthens emotional ties. Tenderness encourages dialogue and shows the comprehensive care we have for the needs of children, accompanying their growth.
1. Tenderness sets unconditional love relationships, communication, affection and respect
Children’s feelings must be treated with respect. Girls and boys with positive relationships will grow with enough confidence to become assertive adults who exercise their citizenship with ethical principles.
2. Tenderness guides children’s growth with empathy and understanding
Earn their trust so they share their dreams, joys and achievements, but also their fears, sorrows and insecurities. Children need limits and firmness; but they also need to feel heard and understood. With love and understanding they make good decisions.
3. Hug and kiss each day
The touch strengthens affection, relationships and promotes positive behaviors. Show your love by hugging and telling them that you love them.
My sponsor always tells me in her letters, to work hard at school. I am trying because I want to be a nurse in future. Najat has never met her sponsor but she knows how she looks like. She is one of the children in the Ashanti Area Development Program sponsorship program who often receives greeting cards, photographs, colored pencils, writing pad and photographs, among others, from her sponsor.
Sponsorship is about more than just giving money to help people in need — it’s about letting children know they are loved.
Taking time to write letters or send small gifts and cards can create a meaningful relationship with your sponsored child. Many sponsors find that investing in this relationship is more than a blessing for their sponsored child — it also changes their own life.
Read on to learn how you can create a lasting relationship with your sponsored child.
1. Write a letter.
Letter-writing (do check out the guidelines on page 2) might feel intimidating at first, but your letter doesn’t have to be perfect to be encouraging to your sponsored child. He or she is curious to know about who you are and what your life is like!
Introduce yourself and your family members. Share your age, hobbies, sports you watch or play, and other activities you are involved in. Who do you consider to be a part of your family? Share about their ages and interests to help paint a picture of daily life for your sponsored child. It’s important to focus not on possessions — your sponsored child might not have many of those — but rather on relationships and activities.
Taking the time to write your sponsored child conveys the message that he or she is valuable and loved by you.
2. Send photos.
Photos of you and your family will be treasured by your sponsored child, and they’ll help him or her feel more connected to your life.
Like letter-writing, it’s important to focus on people, not possessions. Remember how connected you felt to your sponsored child when you saw his or her picture? Sending photos of your own will help your sponsored child feel similarly connected to you.
3. Send a small gift.
Many families don’t have money for anything extra, so small gifts (do check out the guidelines on page 2) can mean a lot. Your gift will need to fit in an A4 sized envelope. Stickers, hand towels, socks, coloring books, colored pencils (with a sharpener!) are a great place to start.
If you have children or grandchildren, you can also send their drawings or photos.
4. Write an email.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time to create a meaningful connection. You can now email your sponsored child. Your child will respond via regular mail, so it may take several months to receive a letter back.
Here are some step-by-step tips on emailing your child.
5. Send a card.
After you sponsor a child, World Vision will send you colorful card template to send to your sponsored child. It is one of the easiest ways to make a connection with the child — simply fill out the card and email (email@example.com) it back us.
The card will be sent to the World Vision office in your child’s country and translated into his or her language. Children receive these cards around birthdays and holidays. Greeting cards can brighten your child’s day, and your card will be treasured for months to come.
Know that the letters, photos, and packages you send will bring joy to your sponsored child and help foster a deeper connection.
If you have written a letter or email to your sponsored child, it might take some time to receive a reply. World Vision staff members are hard at work processing, translating, and delivering your messages. Please don’t let that discourage you from reaching out to your sponsored child. Doing so will be a blessing and encouragement — for your sponsored child, and for you!
The Syria civil war, now in its sixth year, is “a slaughterhouse, a complete meltdown of humanity, the apex of horror,” U.N. emergency relief coordinator Stephen O’Brien told the U.N. Security Council Jan. 26. The war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced more than 11 million from their homes. In many cases, children caught up in this crisis have fared the worst, losing parents or friends to the violence, suffering physical and psychological trauma, or falling years behind in school.
Here is a little bit about the conflict, its effect on families, and how World Vision is helping them.
Syrian refugee crisis explained: Fast facts
– 13.5 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance due to a violent civil war that began in 2011.
– 4.9 million Syrians are refugees, and 6.1 million are displaced within Syria; half of those affected are children.
– Children affected by the Syrian conflict are at risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited. Millions have been forced to quit school. View these photos to see life through
the eyes of Syrian refugee children.
– Most Syrian refugees remain in the Middle East, in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt; slightly more than 10 percent of the refugees have fled to Europe.
– Peace negotiations continue despite a fraying and piecemeal ceasefire.
Children under siege in Aleppo
“The children of Syria have experienced more hardship, devastation, and violence than any child should have to in a thousand lifetimes,” says Dr. Christine Latif, World Vision’s response manager for Turkey and northern Syria.
World Vision staff say the situation in Aleppo city is the most dire they have ever seen it. Health supplies and clean water are urgently needed. Aid hasn’t reached the city since mid-July.
“Civilians have been continually in harm’s way, caught in the cross-fire and changing front lines. Civilian infrastructure has been targeted, leading to mass civilian casualties, including women and children,” says Angela Huddleston, program manager for the World Vision’s Syria response.
World Vision is helping about 100,000 people fleeing recent violence in Aleppo with:
– Clean water and sanitation services
– Primary and mobile health clinic support
– Women and young child centers
– Support for a women and children’s hospital with equipment and supplies
Help children and families fleeing violence in Syria. Donate Now
Why are Syrians leaving their homes?
– Violence: Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, as many as 386,000 people have been killed, including nearly 14,000 children, says the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The war has become more deadly since foreign powers joined the conflict.
– Collapsed infrastructure: Within Syria, 95 percent of people lack adequate healthcare, 70 percent lack regular access to clean water. Half the children are out of school. The economy is shattered and four-fifths of the population lives in poverty.
– Children in danger and distress: Syrian children — the nation’s hope for a better future — have lost loved ones, suffered injuries, missed years of schooling, and witnessed unspeakable violence and brutality. Warring parties forcibly recruit children to serve as fighters, human shields, and in support roles, according to the U.S. State Department.
Most refugees from Syria are still in the region. They’ve fled violence and sought refuge in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. Around 10% are taking the dangerous journey to Europe.
How does the war in Syria affect children?
Read about how the war is affecting Syria’s children in a special report from World Vision magazine, “Syria Crisis and the Scars of War.”
– Children are susceptible to malnutrition and diseases brought on by poor sanitation, including diarrheal diseases like cholera. Cold weather increases the risk of pneumonia and
other respiratory infections.
– Many refugee children have to work to support their families. Often they labor in dangerous or demeaning circumstances for little pay.
– Children are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation in unfamiliar and overcrowded conditions. Without adequate income to support their families and fearful of their
daughters being molested, parents — especially single mothers — may opt to arrange marriage for girls, some as young as 13.
– Between 2 million and 3 million Syrian children are not attending school. The U.N. children’s agency says the war reversed 10 years of progress in education for Syrian children.
What are the refugees’ greatest needs?
– Syrians fleeing conflict need all the basics to sustain their lives: food, clothing, health assistance, shelter, and household and hygiene items.
– They need reliable supplies of clean water, as well as sanitation facilities.
– Children need a safe environment and a chance to play and go to school.
– Adults need employment options in case of long-term displacement.
– Prayer: Learn how you can pray for Syrian refugees. Join with others as we pray for refugees.
– Compassion: Read this article in Christianity Today by World Vision President Rich Stearns about treating refugees with the compassion of Christ.
How is World Vision helping refugees and others affected by the Syrian refugee crisis?
Since the Syria crisis began in 2011, World Vision has helped more than 2 million people in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. Learn more about how World Vision responds to emergencies with short-term relief and long-term recovery.
– Syria: Food aid, health assistance, hygiene support, baby care kits, water and sanitation, shelter repair kits, and winterization supplies.
– Iraq: Food aid, health services, water and sanitation, baby kits, stoves and other winter supplies; for children: education and recreation, programming for life skills, peace building, and resilience.
– Jordan and Lebanon: Personal and household supplies, clean water and sanitation, education and recreation, Child-Friendly Spaces and child protection training for adults, winter kits, and psychosocial support for children.
Reporting from Brian Jonson and Patricia Mouamar, World Vision communications staff in Lebanon and Jordan, and Chris Huber, Kathryn Reid, and Denise C. Koenig from World Vision U.S.
Newly married, Saviour Dene had a big problem. Her new husband would not accept her daughter from a previous relationship as his child.
He told Saviour that he’d married her, but not her daughter.
Saviour did not know what to do so she talked to World Vision community development worker, Seth Siamugande.
“If I had power, I would swallow my daughter so she is no longer there,” Saviour told Seth. “It’s a big burden.”
Seth knew exactly what to do. He took the little girl, Modester, under his wing. That was 2007. Today Modester is 18 and still Seth’s favorite.
“She is one of the children that I have on my heart,” he says. “That child has gone through tough moments.”
I am their mother
Children living in rural areas in southern Zambia face a thorny path. Education isn’t a given. Nor is food. Being an orphan limits access to these even more.
Modester considers herself a single orphan — meaning she has one living parent —though Seth says she rarely sees her mother anymore. Now Modester lives with her 80-year-old grandmother, Noria.
In addition to being rejected by her family, Modester faced hunger. Sometimes she ate only one meal a day. She envied neighbors who had three meals. Sometimes when they had nothing, Modester would go into the bush to find wild okra, which fills up empty bellies, but doesn’t offer much nutritional value.
Grandmother Noria is raising Modester’s cousin, Evelyn, along with two mentally and physically disabled grandchildren—Sydney and Junior. It’s too much for such an elderly woman so Modester has assumed a lot of the parenting responsibilities for her younger cousins. A girl who grew up practically motherless now has three charges of her own.
“I am their mother,” she says, now that Noria has left to care for a sick relative leaving the younger children in Modester’s care.
Modester and Evelyn holding a baby goat.
“She helps us with the preparation of our food. Also she draws water for us,” says 9-year-old Evelyn. Modester spends time helping Evelyn with her homework.
Modester says, “I encourage her to go to school and study. Sometimes I get a piece of paper and we do a bit of solving mathematics.”
Evelyn wants to be a teacher. She looks up to her cousin. She appreciates the hard work the teen does for herself and her cousins, but she also admires Modester’s education.
It’s an education made possible partially by the gift of a goat.
Goats: A gift that lasts
What a difference a single goat makes. It’s offered her a path forward toward higher education. “Without the goats, I might have been married,” she says.
In the Sinazongwe Area Development Program, World Vision offered a gift of a goat to orphans or especially vulnerable children. Modester qualified and when she was in the second grade, she received that gift. It didn’t take long for that single goat to reproduce. Her herd expanded to 12 goats.
As the goats multiplied, so did Modester’s hopes.
“Goats gave me hope because I started to dream of who I wanted to be and I have seen that dream come to pass,” says Modester. Her dreams include being a nurse because she likes helping others.
Modester sold a few goats at a time, always being careful to keep a couple of the animals in reserve for emergencies. Some went to pay people to work in their fields so the family had enough food to eat. Some went toward clothing for the children in the family. Some paid for her education needs.
Goats are part of the equation and child sponsorship is another. Modester appreciates how supportive the staff has been, especially Seth. They’ve provided for both the family’s physical needs as well as her education. Seth is always there with advice about things like school and boys and sometimes even a little pocket money,
“World Vision staff kept encouraging me to work hard in school and to remain focused,” she says.
And focus she did. Modester just completed university-level exams. The results were astounding. Modester, a girl whose family threw her away, is one of the top students in all of Zambia. That’s very unusual for a youth from a small, rural community.
Faith strengthened by World Vision
The staff also nurtures the spiritual growth of all the children in the project. Seth started a Good News Club and Bible study for the sponsored children when he came to Sinazongwe ADP. Through Seth, Modester learned more about God’s love for her and her faith grew.
She now has a father who will never abandon her.
She always goes to God with her needs. She knows that He answers prayers because: “Whenever I prayed asking God for something, it happened and among those whom God used to respond to my needs is World Vision and the staff.”
Her faith and prayers are being put to the test as she prepares for university. These school costs are too great even with the assistance of the goats. So she hopes for either a scholarship or someone to help pay for the university fees.
A university degree will bring her closer to her dream — one that goes beyond becoming a nurse.
“I think when I have enough money I [will] think of helping orphans,” says Modester. “That’s important because I’ve felt what being an orphan is. It’s very hard.”
But things that are difficult won’t stop this determined young lady — not with Seth, a herd of goats, and the love of a faithful Father leading her on.
Yule Mwewa with his wife, Mirriam, and their two children, Natasha and Emmanuel.
Yule Mwewa’s list of accomplishments could make any Ivy League graduate envious. Valedictorian. Successful entrepreneur and business owner. Certified accountant. Board member of a major nongovernmental organization.
But none of those would have been possible for the 33-yearold Zambian without another distinction: “All this is because I was once a sponsored child,” says Yule.
The spark of sponsorship
The sixth of eight children growing up in Kawimbe, a rural town in northern Zambia, Yule was one of the first children sponsored when World Vision started working in his village. The support was timely, as “survival was extremely hard,” says Yule. “[My parents] could not even afford to provide basic meals for us.”
His sponsor, Kay Mason from Arkansas, supported Yule through primary and secondary school with uniforms and school fees. Her sponsorship was the spark he needed to excel.
“World Vision’s sponsorship motivated me to work even harder,” says Yule — and his hard work produced results. Yule graduated from high school at the top of his class, ensuring automatic admittance to the University of Zambia.
But that didn’t mean he could afford tuition. Refusing to give up, he started a small business to earn money for college and instead enrolled in an accounting program at Chingola School of Accountancy in 2002.
Three years later, Yule’s parents desperately needed financial help to send his younger siblings to school. Armed with a new accounting degree, he headed to Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city.
“By God’s grace, I got my first job with an audit firm,” he says. Soon he was able to help his family with school expenses. Two years later, Yule became the accountant for World Vision’s Mwinilunga area development project.
“Sponsorship served as a catalyst for my career,” he says, “and with the experience I got as an auditor from my first job, I felt that I needed to serve at World Vision and contribute to its success.”
Today, Yule’s position as a finance and administration manager in the government’s science and technology ministry enables him to provide for his wife of nine years, Mirriam, and their two children, Emmanuel, 7, and Natasha, 3.
Yule’s other distinctions far outweigh his professional accomplishments. As a husband, father, brother, and son, he sees himself as the cornerstone for his family. He built new houses for his parents and family members, financed his siblings’ educations, and runs several small businesses that generate extra income to help others.
“God’s grace is so sufficient in my life. I believe that I am a channel of blessing to others. What I have received, freely I should give,” says Yule. “I have chosen to share what I have with others, just as my sponsor demonstrated to me through World Vision.”
Though he takes pride in what he has attained, Yule is quick to point to God’s goodness as the source of his accomplishments. And his sponsor, Kay, says she “is pleased that Yule gives most of the credit for his success to God and that he has been active for God throughout [his life].”
Heavily involved in his church’s ministries, Yule is a spiritual leader and serves on the church board. He’s even pursuing a theology degree, not to become a pastor but “to know God more.”
Helping future generations with World Vision
The final merit on a long list of accomplishments is Yule’s role as a board member for World Vision in Zambia.
Serving the organization that served him when he desperately needed help has given Yule a unique perspective on sponsorship.
“The impact is enormous,” he says. “World Vision’s sponsorship program touches children’s lives to the detail. The sponsor out there may not know to what extent, but when you look at the details, children’s lives are changing.”
Without World Vision or Kay, Yule acknowledges he wouldn’t have been able to reach his full potential.
“Sometimes when you give, you do not know to what extent your contribution is going to impact lives. Just imagine for my life if World Vision did not give me the springboard — what would have happened?”
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.
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.”
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.
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’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.
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
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.