5 former sponsored children share their stories

12/02/2017 by World Vision New Zealand


5 former sponsored children share their stories

When you sponsor a child, you become part of their journey and invest in their community.

We work with communities to meet immediate needs as well as providing long-term solutions. Depending on the needs of the community, sponsorship projects focus on: child protection, education, healthcare, water & sanitation, economic development and food security - with the goal of creating sustainable change. 

Over time you can connect with your child and their community through letters, photos alongside regular updates from the community. 

But what happens when a sponsorship ends?

When World Vision moves on from a community, former sponsored children and their families are ready to continue building on the progress that has been made. Keep reading for five stories about former sponsored children achieving great things thanks to you!


Vathanak the nurse, Cambodia

Former sponsored child Vathanak always dreamed of a career in medicine – a dream that his parents and his sponsor encouraged him to pursue. Now 23 years old, Vathanak has graduated from university in Phnomh Penh to work as a nurse – and he uses his skills to conduct health checks for people in his community. Over the years, he's seen the incredible change that sponsors like his own helped to create by supporting World Vision’s work.

"I got health check-ups when World Vision was introduced to my community. Villagers learned a lot about hygiene and received healthcare improvements," says Vathanak. "In a community where we used to have no proper healthcare system, schools with broken building and many dangers along the way to school, now many things are better. World Vision provided us with toilets, wells, micro-business knowledge, responded to natural disaster and brought village cleaning programs to our communities. During my childhood the healthcare system was so poor in my community, only World Vision was working closely with the local people," says Vathanak.

Vathanak is grateful for the relationship he developed with his sponsor over the years and for the ways she encouraged him.

"I have wondered why a person that never knew me, would spend time and money to support a kid like me," says Vathanak. "My sponsor always responded to my letters, wrote great encouraging words. Whenever I received a letter from her I was so excited and shared it with my mum, dad and friends. Also, she told me 'study hard and play hard'. I want tell her that my dream become true now," adds Vathanak.


Kumila the journalist, India

Though Kumila grew up belonging to a marginalised community and confined by poverty, she still dreamt big. Today, the 26-year-old former sponsored child has graduated from university and works as a local news anchor.

"From childhood I loved reporting news and being an anchor. But the conditions at home were poor. I remember asking my father for letting me join a computer course so that I could pursue my dreams but he said no because we didn’t have enough money. That day my hope was shattered," says Kumila. When she discovered that World Vision was offering children like her vocational training in computers, she was ecstatic.

"The computer course did me good. For my line of work understanding technology is very important. Computer knowledge is a must for what I do," says Kumila.

As well as participating in the course, Kumila received educational support from World Vision to help her complete school. A bicycle gave her the means to travel the long distance to class each day, and her family began earning a better income after her father participated in training to grow rubber saplings.

"Thank you World Vision. I could not reach here on my own. Now I can pursue the career I want. You gave me the support to complete my studies. There has been a lot of progress in my village and community because of you. Today I am self-reliant and an equal-earning member of the household. I feel confident; I am living my dream of being a reporter," says Kumila.


Hyromi Samuel the humanitarian, Mali

Hyromi Samuel was born into an extremely poor village in Mali with no school, health clinic or access to clean water. “My mother and father suffered a lot before I was born,” he says. “Their first four children died, my parents still don’t know what caused their deaths. So when my older brother was born, my mother named him Yizoun which means ‘we don’t know’ as they didn’t know what his future would look like, whether he would survive or not.”

While school was over 12km away, education became important to Hyromi Samuel’s father once World Vision started working in the community. "When World Vision came it was like the sun rising for my community. The closest school was too far for my family members and I to walk. My father organised for my mother, aunt and all my relatives that were of school age to live in a house in the village where the school was, for three months at a time so that we could get an education.”

Thanks to this education, and a sponsor from the other side of the World in New Zealand he was even more motivated to succeed. He says, “I worked really hard and was the first in my village to graduate with a University degree. My life and the life of my community is very different now because of World Vision. My community is much healthier today due to some good practices of hygiene and sanitation, access to clean water and more developed because many of the former sponsored children are educated and can now better support themselves and their families."

Hyromi Samuel is now proud to work World Vision, to pass on his vision and hope to other children in Mali. “I just want to say a huge thank you to all those that have sponsored a child,” he says. “I know personally how much difference sponsoring a child can make, it doesn’t just help a single life but gives a whole community life.  The change is real and it’s huge. Today I am what I am because of World Vision."

Juan the business owner, Honduras

Growing up in South Honduras, Juan worked hard on his parent's farm and knew his family was poor. “I remember walking to the stream and getting water - when it rained, the water was never any good. During the summertime, we’d have to walk very far, maybe an hour, because of drought. Our lives changed 20 years ago. When World Vision came to my community, the first thing they did was make a potable water project, so everyone had water in their homes.” 

As a smart student, his teachers quickly realised Juans potential and encouraged him to continue his studies into High School. But Juan’s parents did not have enough money. Thanks to his sponsorship from a man in Rotorua, we gave him a scholarship to study in high school for three years. “I was so excited and happy - I graduated as an Agricultural Technician, and I finished with Outstanding Performance: First Place in Academic Excellence, Work and Discipline. I learned many, many things and applied for another scholarship to study in California for two years. I got an Associate Degree in Agriculture Business with my scholarship. I graduated with outstanding Performance, too.” 

Now Juan owns his own business. He says, “I help give business ideas to entrepreneurs, and agriculture production and organisation ideas in my community. I feel like I have purpose. I have a wife, Eleanor, and three sons: Juan Angel, Pedro and Santiago.”

He often reflects back to his childhood and what could be “I always think about how my life was before and how it is now - my sponsor made my dreams come true. The sponsors in my community had good hearts,” he says. “For my community, my family and for me, World Vision has made a big, big change. I have accomplished all of this, all of these goals because of World Vision. If World Vision never gave me the opportunity to study, I don’t know where I’d be. I am so, so very thankful.”


Devika the public official, Sri Lanka

As the Grama Niladhari in her village in Sri Lanka, 26-year-old former sponsored child Devika holds an important role. The Grama Niladhari is a public official representing the central government, assigned to perform administrative duties in the village.

Along with her younger siblings, Devika was sponsored through World Vision from age 12. Her father is a farmer and part-time mason, so money was tight. Sponsorship was a huge support and helped her parents ensure their children got a good education. Devika went on to study economics at university, a fact that is of immense pride to her parents. Her sister too is hoping to start a degree soon, while her brother wants to be an engineer.

An active participant in the World Vision-established children's club, Devika explains that the organisation’s capacity-building programs formed her leadership skills. "Being in the children's club really helped develop my personality. What I learned then helps me so much today,” she says, beaming. "In my role as Grama Niladhari, I have to take the lead and serve the people."

"I truly feel that it's because of World Vision that I’ve come this far in life," she says. "All my educational needs were met. My family and I faced many hardships, but World Vision helped us so much. It's their faith and my parents' faith in me that paved the way for any success I may have achieved."

Devika has a very special message for her sponsor: "I want to thank my sponsor for everything she's done for me. I'd love to meet her and thank her personally for sponsoring me for so long. I want to get to know this wonderful person, who was so kind to a girl like me half a world away."


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