So, yesterday I talked a bit at the end of my long post about Compassion and that I have quietly been sponsoring a child through Compassion for the last couple of years.
I feel like I should give some background on how I landed on Compassion but I don’t know if that’s really important. In any case, there was alot going on. I had just finished my term as Sr. Warden (basically business boss) of my church, and instead of coming out of that experience rejuvinated and spiritually connected, I felt… disconnected. There was a void, it was a good experience, but draining and… yeah. Draining. I didn’t feel like I was really making a difference for any one person or thing. So after alot of thought and prayer, I decided I wanted to do something that made a difference for one person. Just 1, not a group, not a few… just one. So, I started to do some research and landed on Compassion – and here’s why.
When you sponsor a child through Compassion, you sponsor one child, just one. Compassion focuses on the whole child, and so while the money you provide for one child goes to that child and helps to provide the basics like – food, clean water, shelter, etc – it also provides things like school fees, and uniform fees, and shoes, and the things required to get an education. And, Compassion children go to the Center at least 1x a week where they play and have fun, but get a healthy meal, and classes in hygiene, health, tutoring for school, and the learn trades and skills, and learn about Christianity and on and on – it’s really a holistic view at child sponsorship. For me, it was the right fit. It was one person, addressing their daily needs and the future…. it’s what I was looking for.
So, how do I know that I really am sponsoring one child. Well… that’s the fun part. I picked him.
Compassion has a great website, and after I did my research and thought about it and what-not, I went to the Sponsor a Child page – typed in what I was looking for, tried a few alternate searches, and then… well… I found him.
For a variety of reasons, I knew that I wanted to pick an African child, in an area affected by HIV/AIDS, preferably a young boy – who had some sort of difference to him. I felt like in the combination, I could in fact make a difference in his life. So, after scrolling through many many photos… I saw and stopped on this one:
Here’s what I know: That money, $45 bucks, provides Nana with a school uniform, food, clean water (food and water for both he and his family), education from the Compassion Project, as well as HIV meds for him and for ANY member of his family, should any of them need them. It will provide him an opportunity to learn a trade, and an opportunity to grow.
How do I know that… well, here’s my favorite part. The part I treasure.
There are letters. Lovely. Beautiful. Letters. And pictures. I get a picture of Nana every 6 months or so. So, I get to see him grow. And, I get at least 3 letters a year from him. Written in his own hand, or by the Compassion teacher, before he had good enough writing skills! The great thing about Compassion is that I have the opportunity to connect with him in more than a “heres the money” way. I can send pictures, and paper things, and learn about him from his letters. I treasure the letters and photos. I have a binder full of letters and photo’s that I’ve gotten through the last couple of years.
You can also provide a gift for your child’s birthday, or a family gift once a year. And if you provide more than $25 bucks, you get a photo of the child and the things that they purchased.
The first birthday gift, I didn’t get a photo, but I got a letter, and the Compassion teacher said:
“The gift money was used to buy clothes, school bag, and shoes. Nana is so glad that he can now make a change of dress for church and traveling. The school bag has helped keeping all his books neat and safe.”
This is the photo and commentary from the second birthday gift I sent, in the second year I sponsored him:
“The gift money was used to buy: A beautiful white up & down dress for him, He also got a bottle of minerals and cookies to make a party. He was very exited to share meals with his friends. He is glad to put ton the dress for Sunday School and Church Services”
Later in the letter it says “Nana and his family and friends would forever remember and say a very thank you, for your unique way of clothing and putting food on their table to make a remarkable birthday celebration.”
Really – it was a gift to me to be able to see it.
This, by the way, is Nana and his friends, a sibling, and his grandmother. She is very leery of photos, and so looks very stoic.
Along the way I got a photo of him with his new school uniform, and then IN his new school uniform:
So in the 2 1/2 years, I’ve exchanged 14 letters with Nana, and been able to send 4 or 5 emails with pictures to him. I get back from him lovely letters that talk about things happening in their community, and each letter has a picture. I’ve heard about the snake that came out of no where, his family, playing soccer with friends, etc etc. I love it. I see that envelope come in the mail and get VERY excited. I love knowing that he’s safe. I also love to look at the pictures he draws. I’ve gotten photos of… a boy, an eye, a bowl, a preacher (which is quite possibly my favorite) and more.
A couple of weeks ago I got another photo in the mail, and it was written by him, and included a picture…
This is what he wrote: “Thank you for the gift you sent to me. It was used to buy a new black shoe, clothes and drinks for a party” and in another section “How are you, my Alison Fesler. I hope you are well.”
So that picture is why I choose to Sponsor a Child. That big smile. Knowing that I made a difference for him… and that when I started sponsoring him he had one set of clothes, and flip flops. And now he has several sets of clothes and 2 pairs of shoes. That I have helped him stay enrolled in school, and that I can see his writing and drawing get better over time.
I feel like I rambled on and on here, but I love this kid, and love that I’m able to make a difference for him. And, frankly I love the letters and photos.
So – by writing this blog, I hope to do two things – win a prize that benefits him, and encourage others to Sponsor a Child.
I’m happy to answer any questions – but if you’ve been looking for a way to make a difference for one child in the world, visit the Sponsor a Child page.