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.
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.
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!
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!