Tag Archive: Child Sponsorship

A community empowered in the aftermath of disaster

Story by Mark Nonkes | February 5, 2016

Despite tears caused by lost loved ones, in the village of Pulot a group of nearly 100 women are celebrating the tsunami. Photo by Mark Nonkes, World Vision

The best thing?

The worst natural disaster of the last 40 years was the best thing that ever happened to Khairani?

Did she just say that?

She clarifies.

“There are many valuable things we got from the tsunami,” 30-year-old Khairani repeats. “When God took something from us, he gave back more than he took. The tsunami was not a punishment for our community.”

Remembering the disaster

Khairani doesn’t say this lightly.

She remembers the horror of the disaster.

She lost too.

As a university student who had just moved to the city of Banda Aceh, Khairani remembers the warning.

“We saw the tsunami, it was at our back, just about five metres away. It was a miracle we were saved. Even our neighbours were not. But we rode away on our motorcycle. I thought it was doomsday,” Khairani says.

She also remembers trying to return home to her oceanfront village, to her mother.

“One day after the tsunami, I finally found some relatives and I asked about my mother. They told me she passed away, that my village was destroyed,” Khairani says quietly.

Visiting her hometown in ruin

Khairani needed to check for herself.

The scenes from that journey still reduce her to tears. She continues to be haunted by that boat ride.

“I saw bodies floating in the sea. I was crying. I thought maybe it was my mom,” she says.

“At that time I prayed that it would be better not to find the body of my mother if it were in that condition,” Khairani says.

“All my friends have depression and stress because they saw the bodies of loved ones,” she adds.

Helping children recover

In the months that followed, Khairani threw herself into her education. She focused on her training to be a teacher.

When she graduated in 2005, she joined World Vision’s emergency response. She became a Child-Friendly Space facilitator, helping heal the emotional trauma children affected by the disaster faced.

“We had many activities with the children – it healed me from the pain,” Khairani says.

In April 2006, Kairani married her best friend, Surdirman, a man who lived in the village where she grew up. A year later, the couple had a baby girl and Khairani stopped leading Child-Friendly Space sessions.

Khairani, her husband Sudirman and their daughter Alifa at their small business started after the 2004 tsunami. Photo by Mark Nonkes, World Vision

Leading a group of women to success

Instead, Khairani got involved in another World Vision supported activity — a women’s group.

“We’re bringing our community to a higher level,” Khairani says.

The group started a savings and loan program and trained individual members to start their own small businesses. For the three following years, World Vision provided training on accounting and running a cooperative and helped the women get legal status for their cooperative.

“Now a mother who just finished her elementary school education can make money so that she can ensure her children go to school. From their businesses, women are adding rooms to their houses,” Khairani explains.

Reducing abuse

There are 97 members in the saving and loans group. Now, across their village, women are running businesses from their homes. They sell snacks, bake cookies, serve coffee or dry sardines, among other things.

“Abuse in the family is lower than before the tsunami. Women are more respected by their husbands. They (the men) want to listen to the women’s opinion now. Things are better. They can listen, not just speak.”

Optimistic for the next generation

Outside her own small shop that sells candy, coffee and cleaning products, Khairani tells us these are the reasons she’s grateful that the tsunami came. Not for the loss or destruction. But for the opportunities it presented.

Today, Khairani is a third grade teacher. Her baby girl Alifa Iza Salsabila is now seven and learning to read and write.

“I want her to study more than me,” Khairani says as she watches her daughter do her homework. “Maybe Alifa will get her master’s. She should get something higher than her parents.”

Support people like Khairani, who deserves a second chance at living life to the fullest. You can help turn their life around by donating to our Livelihood Fund .

Archery allows sponsored child to take aim in right direction

By Somluck Khamsaen
World Vision Thailand

archer
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.”

Click here to sponsor a child today!

Saved from early marriage by a goat

By Laura Reinhardt

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.

ModEve
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.

They can do anything; they just need a believer.

Sponsor a child today
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Story courtesy of World Vision US.

Return on investment

By Collins Kaumba
World Vision Zambia

Yule
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.”

Family cornerstone
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?”

Yule is thankful that he will never know.

Story courtesy of World Vision US.

Top 5 myths of Child Sponsorship

myth
By Rachael Boyer
World Vision US

When you were little, did you believe you could change the world? I did. I wanted to be part of the amazing work God is doing in the world. If you’re reading this, chances are you feel the same tug in your heart to help those in poverty and make a difference. But you may have some questions about the most effective way to do it.
Well, I invite you to take a fresh look at the most powerful way to fight poverty.

1.Myth: It’s an old-fashioned, outdated way of doing development work.
Truth: Child sponsorship is local, sustainable, and organic.
Those words are trendy now, but we’ve been taking this approach since the 70’s. We have local staff members who know the culture, customs, and community. Our agriculture programs promote organic farming. Sustainability and self-sufficiency are fundamental. It’s our goal to leave the community. Author and blogger Rachel Held Evans thought sponsorship was old fashioned too—until she saw our work in the field herself, and came away with a fresh perspective.

2.Myth: It’s not a “real” child. A hundred other people probably get a photo of the same child.
Truth: Each child in our sponsorship programs is matched with one sponsor.
With World Vision, you are the only sponsor for your sponsored child. They’re real children with real stories. You can get to know your sponsored child through letters and photos, packages, and email. You can even visit your sponsored child and see how your donation is helping transform their community. Here’s a story of a sponsor who did, and found that her sponsored child exists.

3.Myth: It won’t really make a difference.
Truth: It makes all the difference.
Sponsoring a child is even more powerful and life changing than you could have imagined. Former sponsored children have grown up to become doctors, teachers, pastors, farmers, social workers, engineers, business leaders, political leaders, and even Olympic athletes! But most of all, they grow up seeing the transformative power of God’s love through the actions of World Vision staff and the encouragement of their sponsors. Read some of their inspiring stories. God is at work in communities around the world. We’re joining him where the action is, and together, we’re bringing his kingdom – a kingdom where there is no sickness, or pain, or injustice.

Plus, on a practical level, giving a sustaining donation every month allows non-profits to budget and plan ahead. This means we can make a long-term investment in communities, instead of spending more time and money fundraising.

4.Myth: It’s just a temporary handout that will create dependencies.
Truth: Self-sufficiency is our primary goal for child sponsorship communities.
Let me tell you a story about the Chikwina-Mpamba community that I visited in Malawi. World Vision had been in the community for over 15 years, and by the time I visited in 2010, community members were proudly leading the programs, owned the office building, and were training other neighboring communities!

This community is a model of self-sufficiency. And this is not an isolated case. It’s how we do development work. We come along-side children, families, and communities. We listen to them, make an action plan together, facilitate them executing that plan, monitor progress together, make adjustments as needed, and celebrate success together.

If you want to get technical, learn more about our community development model.

5.Myth: My monthly donation goes straight to the child’s family.
Truth: Actually, because we believe the best way to change a child’s life is to help change the community they live in, we pool monthly sponsorship donations.
By combining your monthly gift with the gifts of other sponsors, corporate product donations, grants, and major gifts, we’re able to maximize the impact of your donation so each $1 you donate brings more than $1 in impact.

This way we can partner with communities to improve schools, clinics, water quality and sanitation, job training and opportunities for parents, and agriculture practices and nutrition. These things benefit your sponsored child, their family, and their entire community for years to come with way more impact than a direct handout. Learn more about how World Vision child sponsorship works.

Over the years, my family has sponsored several children, and enjoyed the letters, photos, community reports, and feeling of connection. I have visited World Vision’s sponsorship projects in 5 countries, and been amazed at the transformation I’ve seen. That’s why I keep working here. Child sponsorship works, and we are making a lasting difference.  We really are changing the world.

Story courtesy of World Vision US.

Unusual angels: Gift Catalogue chickens a family’s saving grace

By Laura Reinhardt, WVUS

“He’s a town boy.”
That’s how World Vision Zambia communicator Agatha Mali describes 4-year-old Chansa Dibula.

She means that his life is easier than many other children in rural southern Zambia. He’s not malnourished. He’s physically healthy. He doesn’t have to walk for miles to gather water. His family has reliable income so that when he’s old enough, he’ll be able to attend school. They’ll have the money for the fees, uniforms, and school supplies.

That’s still a few years away. Right now he’s content to spend his days at the home of his maternal grandmother, Esnart Sianchwale. He loves hopping around on one foot across the family compound. Sometimes he’ll play soccer with his uncle, 9-year-old Resheal, who’s more like a brother to him. Life is good for these two boys.

But Esnart, who is also Resheal’s mother, remembers a time when they only had hunger and heartache.

‘The story turned upside down’
Esnart’s first husband died in 1999, leaving her to care for her children and elderly mother. He was the family’s breadwinner so his death meant disaster for the family.

“When he died, the story turned upside down,” says Esnart’s 18-year-old son, Bee. “It was easy to notice the difference. I used to wear nice clothes. I used to eat every day.”

Both Bee and his older brother, Under, excelled in their studies, but without food to fortify them, they faltered. “I would lose concentration in school. I wouldn’t want to be with my friends because I was hungry,” says Under, now 25. He dropped out of school in grade 10 and never returned.

Bee also struggled in school. “My performance was being affected. I couldn’t concentrate,” he says. He had to repeat sixth grade because he missed a full term. “It was hard to cope with hunger.”

When Esnart found piecework, she earned just a bit of mealie meal — ground corn used as a staple in Zambia. Sometimes that was all they would eat for a day, and many times they had no food.

Esnart’s own struggles with hunger were nothing compared to the guilt and anguish she felt over watching her children suffer. The children came to her and said, “’Mommy, we are hungry. We need food.’” She sometimes ran away from them into the bush just to sit alone with her grief. “Why are my children going through all this? What am I going to do? Am I going to manage to take them out of this situation? Am I going to be able to see them reach their potential?”

esnart
The answer to the last two questions seemed to be ‘no.’ Esnart remarried in 2003 and hoped that things would improve, but frequent fights between husband and wife meant no return to the better days of her first marriage. A few years later, Esnart became deathly ill. Her husband didn’t take care of her, so she took her children and returned to her home village.

Esnart recovered from her mysterious illness. She had her HIV status checked but thankfully tested negative. A few visits from her husband and attempts at reconciliation left Esnart pregnant with her youngest child, Resheal. Ultimately her marriage failed, but things did begin to look up for Esnart’s family. It came in the most unlikely of forms — chickens.

Gift Catalogue chickens bring hope
Through World Vision’s Gift Catalogue, she received four chickens and one rooster.

Owen Sikuneta, World Vision’s Community Development Worker in the area, comes from this area. He knows of his neighbors’ struggles. One of the families who stood out as having special need was Esnart’s. So when it came time to choose families to receive the chickens, he knew he would recommend her.

Before the chickens arrived, Esnart received training on best practices in building a chicken coop. She hesitated to begin because she didn’t dare to hope for a better future.

“Please make sure you’re going to do this. We are telling the truth” Owen told her. “These chickens are going to be a stepping stone to move your family from one level to another.” So Esnart got busy building the chicken coop.

“My heart was ignited with so much joy,” says Esnart. When the chickens arrived, she named them.

“I gave them names because those chickens were a gift,” she says. “I had a special relationship with those chickens.” She wanted to be able to call them and have them respond to those names.

Esnart learned about livestock management from World Vision. Experts educated her about the right foods to feed her chickens so they would produce more eggs, multiply, and thrive.

And thrive they did! From five, within a year Esnart’s animals numbered 200 roosters, 124 chickens, and eight baby chicks.

“God was so good. He made the chickens reproduce very fast, as though he was looking forward to reducing our hunger,” says Bee.

In fact, when World Vision gathered all the chicken recipients together to evaluate, Esnart’s chickens from the Gift Catalogue had reproduced the most. World Vision gave her more wire for her chicken coop to accommodate her expanded brood.

When Resheal was only a tiny boy, he developed a knack for knowing which hens were ready to lay eggs. He discovered their roosting hiding places. Then Esnart would come across him with eggs boiling in a pot. He smiles shyly as she tells this story.

esnart2
To this day, his favorite food is eggs with beans.

Prospering despite hard times
“The chickens have been a foundation,” says Esnart. “Without these chickens, my family would have been wallowing in poverty.”

At that time, the chickens acted as a sort of savings bank for Esnart and her family. She began selling chickens to local restaurants. Through those sales, Esnart bought turkeys and cattle along with seeds and fertilizer to increase the size of her garden.

Esnart’s family used to do all the work by hand and couldn’t grow enough food to feed even themselves. Owning cattle means they can plow their field so they’ve been able to expand the size of their crop. That means Esnart can feed her family and even have crops left over to sell.

World Vision’s Owen says, “I feel good to see my community have three meals. I don’t like seeing them suffering.”

Most mornings, Esnart works in one of two fields filled with maize, mbambara nuts, and cowpeas. When school is out, Resheal joins her.

“As a result of all these things put together, we are food secure despite that we are experiencing drought now. Hunger is a thing of the past now because we do not depend on maize alone for our survival,” says Esnart. “World Vision already laid a foundation for us, which has made it possible for us to survive even when times are hard, as the case is now.”

Much of Zambia depends on Sinazongwe’s Lake Kariba for its hydroelectric power. With the water levels receding, many parts of the country face rolling blackouts to try to conserve electricity.

kariba
Picture of Lake Kariba from zambezitraveller.com

El Nino has led to drought across southern Africa, causing crops to fail and people in southern Zambia to face hunger. Thanks to the chicken savings banks and the work that World Vision had done to train farmers on drought-resistant crops, many of the families within World Vision’s Area Development Projects (ADPs) aren’t feeling the pangs of hunger.

A better life through education and child sponsorship
Esnart wants her children and grandchildren to have access to a better future. “I chose to educate my children because I wanted them to live a better life later in the future, not a difficult life, like what I had myself,” she says.

The animals allow her to keep Resheal and Bee in school, something she couldn’t do for Under. The young man tested well in exams and wanted to be a doctor. Sadly, that’s a lost opportunity for Under.

Leaving school early meant that he didn’t learn to speak English. In Zambia, the more profitable jobs require fluent English. That means lost income potential for Under. He yearns to be setting an example for his younger brothers. “I should’ve been supporting my siblings,” he says. “My siblings were supposed to look up to me.”

Bee and Resheal both dream of being doctors, so perhaps Under has been more of an influence on his brothers than he knows.

One thing that’s certain, Chansa looks up to Resheal. They spend much of their free time together when Resheal isn’t at school. (Zambian children attend school for three months, followed a month off throughout the year.) When they’re not playing, sometimes Resheal brings Chansa with him to get water from a nearby borehole. What Chansa really wants to do is go with Resheal when he herds the goats. But Resheals tells him that he’s too young and needs to wait a little while longer.

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The goats arrived a couple of years ago for Resheal — also coming through World Vision’s Gift Catalogue. He feels so responsible for them that sometimes he’ll skip lunch out in the field because he worries that something might happen to them. When he first got the goats, he put them inside their pen and says, “I spent time gazing at them. ”Like the chickens, the goats multiplied. Now they have more than 30 goats.

The animals aren’t the only benefit World Vision has offered to Esnart’s family. Bee, Resheal, and Chansa all have sponsors in the US. Bee’s and Resheal’s sponsors have written letters, encouraging both boys to pursue their studies — advice they take to heart.

Resheal’s sponsor sent him clothing. Bee’s sponsor donated extra gifts, which allowed Bee to reroof his room and also to buy a wooden bed — the first bed he’s ever owned. Bee says, “If we meet or see each other, mostly I would want to thank him so much from the bottom of my heart because he has done so much to help me.”

Esnart considers the sponsors to be friends of her sons and grandson.

Starting to save
In 2011, World Vision began savings groups in the community.  These groups helped to change the mindset of people in Zambian rural communities.

Owen, the community development worker, explains that it used to be if someone had small amounts of money such as 2 or 5 kwacha (RM0.90 – RM2.20), they would just go spend it, because they couldn’t see the value of saving such a small amount.

World Vision explained that the tiny amount, when saved in a savings group, could result in earnings of up to 20 kwacha (RM8.80). That’s a sizeable sum of money in these rural communities.

These savings then are available to members to borrow. They’re encouraged to take loans because the interest on repaid loans increases everyone’s earnings. Each group sets their loan repayment period to between 6 months and a year. They also determine interest rates, although most groups tend to set it to around 10%.  Owen says he’s seen lots of changes as a result of the savings groups in his zone. Some women have been able to build new homes or shops. They’ve paid school fees for their children, bought livestock, and bought nutritious food for their family.

“The savings groups have proved to be [one of] the best of World Vision’s interventions,” he says. “No group has stopped. They’re opening new ones all the time.”

Esnart embraced the savings groups. She’s even become a trainer, which means she visits savings groups around the country, teaching them about the process.

Esnart dreams big about her own future. She’s started a small business selling fish from Lake Kariba. She plans to borrow money from the savings group to expand her that business by buying a refrigerator in which to store the fish. She now owns property in town now and just needs to build on the land. Then she’ll rent out the homes when she’s finished. She’s always seeking to diversify so she’s not dependent on one thing to support her family.

The savings group has also opened up higher education opportunities for her children. Owen says, “Bee is now at a boarding [high] school. On her own, she could not have managed.”

Zambia recently passed new legislation requiring elected government officials to have completed their education at least through twelfth grade. Owen says proudly that now people in his community can be part of governing their own country because education has become more accessible, thanks in part to World Vision’s work in communities like Sinazongwe.

Neither Resheal nor Chansa seems interested in politics at this point in their lives, but it’s great to know that the option is open should they decide to pursue a future in government.

Resheal is already starting to work on his medical skills. When his elderly grandmother stepped on a thorn, he tenderly pulled it from her gnarled foot. It was good practice for the 9-year-old doctor in waiting.

“I want to be treating people. I want people to live a healthy life and I would want to take people out of their old life,” he says, his megawatt smile lighting up his whole face.

Esnart knows that due to the foundation laid by the Gift Catalogue chickens and the ongoing support of sponsorship and the savings groups, she’ll have the money she needs to support his education.

“He will help the nation as a whole,” she says. “My dream [for Resheal] is that he would have a fruitful future; that he would have a productive future.” She wants him to be self-sufficient, but also willing and able to help others in need.

A loving example
Helping others is so important to Esnart that she’s already instilled it in her children and will do so to her grandchildren. She knows the ramifications of desperate poverty.

She understands the physical and psychological effects it imprints on people.

Most of the people in southern Zambia belong to the Tongan tribe. Tongans measure worth by the number of animals owned. “In the past, when I lacked all these things, nobody could even walk to my home,” says Esnart. “They shunned me because I was poor.”

Now many people in need come to her. Esnart refuses to turn them away. If someone asks for a chicken to feed their family, she gives it to them free of charge.

Her faith enables her to forgive. “I need to show them an example of how they need to live,” Esnart says. “God is using me, not just for my well-being, but also for the well-being of others.”

Her example has taken root. Bee says, “One friend came and said he did not have a blanket. I did not deny him one because I realized problems need to be shared. So, I gave him a blanket. They say the hand that gives is blessed.” Shortly thereafter, World Vision provided Bee with another blanket.

Chansa and Resheal are learning these same lessons in generosity, but thankfully they haven’t learned the hard lessons of want. These boys don’t have to wonder where whether a meal is coming. They won’t feel hunger gnawing at them as they struggle to learn.

Instead, they will be free to grow to their full potential, and that’s an overwhelming desire for any parent.

Through the gifts of chickens, goats, and sponsorship, Esnart’s faith has grown. “It has made me realize that God came like sending his own angel to come before me,” says Esnart. “Those years I spent struggling and praying, he heard me and answered by sending that angel.”

Who would have ever believed an angel taking on the form of a chicken?

To learn more about World Vision’s gift catalogue, please go to https://www.worldvision.com.my/goh-catalogue Or to learn about how sponsoring a child is the start of a miracle for children and communities living in poverty, do click here, https://www.worldvision.com.my/what-is-child-sponsorship

Story courtesy of World Vision US.

Jessica – the journey of 5 years

by Jessica Choong
World Vision Malaysia

More than 5 years ago, I joined World Vision Malaysia. I was excited to be part of this organisation that from my understanding was committed to helping the poor. Little did I know that World Vision’s work carried such depth and breadth worldwide. I am proud to be part of this dynamic community that is dedicated in serving the poor, even though most of us within the Malaysian office work indirectly by working hard to fundraise for our programmes in the field. Over the years I’ve come to better appreciate how the different parts of World Vision help contribute in their own unique ways for the greater good. It is also within this sphere that I’ve been able to grow professionally, socially and spiritually. Here I’d like to share some highlights from the past 5 years that has made it memorable being with the World Vision family.

My various roles in the Programmes department have provided me the opportunity to learn about both sustainable community development and emergency responses. When I first started, one of my first few responsibilities was to monitor the progress of child sponsorship programmes in a few countries. From there I learned about the holistic approach that World Vision uses to work alongside the poor, respecting their voices especially children’s and desiring for genuine transformation in the lives of those World Vision works with. I had the opportunity to visit some of our programmes to which I was able to witness the enthusiasm of communities wanting to improve their lives; discover the passion of committed field staff that have dedicated their lives to the poor; and hoped alongside children that believed that they could have a better future.

As a child sponsor, I’m glad to have the opportunity to journey with my sponsored children and their communities in this process of transformation. Having the privilege of meeting them has continued my desire to see them grow well and be hopeful for the community’s growth in the upcoming years. The connection that I have with a child in a programme allowed my work on community development to come alive, knowing that there are precious lives that really matter behind a report filled with words.


As I moved on to another role that coordinated fundraising efforts for disaster relief, I had opportunities to be deployed to be part of World Vision’s Syrian Crisis Response in the Middle East. There I served as a Programmes Officer, tasked to write grant proposals and reports to donors to fundraise for the needs of the affected community. During both deployments, I worked with international and national colleagues of various backgrounds who came together to use their skills, knowledge and passion to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected. In World Vision, it is amazing that during a time of adversity, a group of people with such diversity can come together to help others from diverse backgrounds.

Only by being part of an emergency response team, working closely with operational staff did I realise the complexity of an emergency response especially for a crisis such as Syria’s. We faced unprecedented challenges and often had to think outside of the box but still meet the needs of the affected children and community, as this was not your average or typical emergency response. This experience brought me one step closer to the field and although I did not work directly with those affected, I was able to see how my desk contribution could still bring some form of relief to those who needed them.

Looking back, it is hard to believe how swiftly five years has passed. This was made easy as I work with a great bunch of people. I have the privilege of working alongside fellow colleagues here and in other World Vision offices that are dedicated to the work at World Vision and have grown together with many professionally and spiritually. Our working relationship and focused goal of helping others has created a bond of friendship that I continue to treasure. This passion and commitment together with fellow colleagues help make the work more fulfilling and meaningful. I hope to continue to contribute in my own ways with my fellow colleagues on the work that World Vision does. And hope many will also see the small contributions we make in the lives of those we work with.

Jessica Choong currently serves in World Vision Malaysia under the Malaysian Programmes team as Programmes Coordinator.

The scourge of human trafficking: Is there hope?

By Edmond Lee
Communications
World Vision Malaysia

The world is moving
In 2015, Europe faced an unprecedented refugee crisis. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 1,011,700 migrants arrived there by sea and almost 34,900 by land.

Many of these refugees hailed from Syria, where the civil war rages on, driving families from their homes and forcing them on a dangerous journey to the safety of Europe’s shores. They face uncertain futures, but to them, that is preferable to almost certain death.

Unfortunately, where there is human suffering and desperation, there are people ready to exploit it.

The tragic costs of human trafficking
Closer to home, news broke in May 2015 that 28 illegal human trafficking camps had been found along the border between Malaysia and Thailand, near which were found 139 mass graves filled with the bodies of migrants. This case, and the subsequent trial of 92 human traffickers in Thailand, threw more light on the horrific spectre of human trafficking.

The scale of the problem is staggering: an estimated 21 million people have been trafficked worldwide – victims of a ‘business’ that has made $32 billion in profits. Sadly, 5.5 million children have been caught by this dark trade, forced to beg, perform hard labour, or even become sex workers.

Although traffickers often prey on refugee children, more commonly they lure underprivileged children and youths into their sinister web by the promise of steady work abroad.  Economic desperation at home often places enormous pressure on migrating young people to succeed and send money to their families; helping their families survive can make even the worst hardships seem worthwhile.

Occasionally, victims of trafficking escape or get rescued, but continuing poverty and suffering is driving more people into the arms of criminals every day. What can stem the tide?

A reason to stay

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Sauphorn with a large harvest of corn.

If economic desperation is a key reason people choose to leave, then economic opportunities can persuade them to stay. Take Sauphorn, a woman in Leuk Daek, Cambodia. Previously, during the dry seasons, she didn’t have the water to grow crops.

“I felt so upset when we didn’t have much food,” she says. “My children would get sick because they didn’t have enough.” In this vulnerable state, Sauphorn could have been swayed by the opportunity to earn an income abroad to care for her children at home.

But after World Vision arrived in her community, she was empowered to keep her children healthy through health and hygiene education, and has even gone on to train others in her community. By learning best practices for farming, her yields have more than quadrupled.

World Vision is transitioning out of her community soon, but she isn’t worried. “World Vision has already strengthened me for 10 years.” With her newfound confidence and expertise, others in her community gain the resilience to stay.

Education empowers
Traffickers often prey on the less-educated, but they would have a hard time in Leuk Daek, Cambodia. Families now have food security and know the value of education, so more and more children are able to go to school, where they can learn more about their rights and how not to be taken advantage of.

One such student is Bunteum, who is now 22.

His parents struggled to feed their family of 10. But through World Vision, they learned life skills and agriculture expertise that enabled them to provide for their family.

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Bunteum now shares his knowledge as a school teacher and advisor to the Youth Club.

By taking part in the World Vision Youth Club, Bunteum learned about children’s rights and how to help his community. He worked alongside World Vision to raise awareness on education, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and of course, human trafficking.

All of this had a lasting impact on Bunteum’s life. “After I joined the club, I understood about my future. I could prepare my plan,” he says. He finished school and has returned to his community as a primary school teacher. He also consults with the Youth Club, educating and empowering a new generation of children.

Having hope keeps them safe
In 2013, the UN adopted a resolution to make 30 July the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Raising awareness is indeed important, but awareness alone won’t keep vulnerable children and families away from human traffickers; not as long as the economic rewards seem to outweigh the risks.

But what is true in Leuk Daek is true everywhere: by giving communities access to education, economic opportunities and social protection, children and families won’t succumb to the risks of trafficking and exploitation in order to survive. The promise of hope and self-sufficiency will keep them safe at home, where they belong.

By sponsoring a child, you can give families hope and help them resist traffickers. Click here to become a child sponsor today.

Passionate about being a child sponsor

“RM130 for two children may not be a lot, but to know that it can help complete two development projects truly encourages me. If all of us play a part and sponsor just one child, what an impact that would be!”  –Lisa Chang Siew Ling, Child Sponsor of 2 children

For Lisa, the most satisfying part of child sponsorship is when World Vision successfully phases out of the community. That’s when the families have become self-reliant and the community takes ownership of its future development.

“It (child sponsorship) is more than just a donation. It helps lay a solid foundation for sustainable development and brings hope to children living in poverty,” she explains. Lisa is convinced that through World Vision’s long-term development work, her sponsored children and their communities will thrive and have promising futures.

Lisa had felt compelled to sponsor a child after reading stories of poverty around the world and about World Vision’s work among the poor. Her first sponsored child was from Xinjiang, China. Later, while volunteering at a World Vision experiential booth, she decided to sponsor her second child – a boy from Praiburng, Thailand. The experience is very meaningful and emotional for as she puts herself in the shoes of those struggling to survive daily because of poverty. The stories she had read came to life for her! Since then, Lisa hardly missed volunteering at any World Vision’s events as long as time permits. She is always happy to share with people about child sponsorship and its concept in bringing about lasting change.

In 2013, her commitment to bringing about change in Xinjiang came to an end as World Vision phased out of the community. Without a second thought, Lisa continued her sponsorship with another child, also from China but in another area development programme.

The vulnerability of children especially those facing the harsh reality of poverty had left a deep impression on Lisa. She is determined to continue helping these children find hope and a way out of the vicious cycle of poverty through World Vision’s child sponsorship programme.

Sponsor a Child today and give him or her a promising future!

Joys of Child Sponsorship


“I want them to know that there is someone out there in the world who loves them.”
Elle Chin, Child Sponsor of 2 children

The year was 2013 when Elle came face to face with the sad reality of poverty during a World Vision Famine Advocate trip to Basanthi, India. Meeting 11-year old Parama was a defining moment for her.

Photographed with Parama during the 2013 Famine Advocates’ Visit to Basanthi, India.

Parama lives with her aging grandmother. They had been battling hunger, having little to eat each day. When Elle met them, the hungry little girl was shivering and her hands were cold. Elle gave them a bag of rice and what happened next tugged at her heartstrings. Parama’s grandmother burst into tears of joy and gratitude! Today, Elle is relieved to know that Parama is being sponsored under World Vision’s child sponsorship programme.

Elle’s child sponsorship journey began after she participated in World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine Camp back in 2007. It taught her that every single effort counts, no matter how small it may be.

“It was alarming to know that many children do not live past their 5th birthday due to poverty. Sponsoring a child is the least I can do to bring lasting change in the lives of these children living in difficult circumstances. I know many who are hesitant to commit to a long-term sponsorship programme but having been a child sponsor for many years, I can assure you that the money spent is worthwhile – as we will see lasting change in the lives of those struggling with poverty,” said Elle, who is now World Vision Malaysia’s Youth Mobiliser.

For Elle, it is sheer joy whenever she receives her sponsored children’s drawings, letters and photos. Reading each child’s personal progress as well as their community development encourages her and she feels blessed to have played a part.

“Through letters and gifts, I hope that I can encourage my sponsored children to achieve their dreams. I want them to know that there is someone out there in the world who loves them.”

Sponsor a child today! Be part of World Vision’s work in bringing hope to children and communities in need.