Kim Crossman reflects on her trip to Uganda and how you can help girls fight for their rights.

Sponsor a girl now

New Zealand actor Kim Crossman recently travelled to Uganda with World Vision. She saw first-hand how Kiwis are supporting girls to fight for their rights and break free from poverty, for good.

With her partner Tom, Kim visited a school programme supporting young mothers to continue their education, met a young woman who had escaped child marriage, and they even got the chance to meet their sponsored child, Jackline.

“I witnessed an uprising of beautiful, empowered young women,” says Kim. “These amazing girls… are strong, bold, brave and confident, despite growing up in some of the toughest circumstances. They know their rights. They’re in school. They have big dreams. And they’re leading change in their communities.”

But it was impossible to escape the huge need in Uganda.

Kim met Elizabeth, a mother of eight, in a Ugandan refugee camp.

Elizabeth fled war-torn South Sudan, walking five days, with no supplies, and carrying her children in desperate search of safety across the border.

Kim was moved to hear Elizabeth’s story of survival as she risked so much to find safety for her eight children.

For Kim, meeting Elizabeth was life-changing. She was inspired and challenged listening to this mother who sacrificed everything and is hoping for a brighter future for her children.

“She's doing so much, but it's not quite enough to get the uniforms for her children to attend school,” says Kim. “So with child sponsorship, even just for one child in her family, that will change the trajectory of their life and change the cycle, it will do so much for them,” she explains.

Elizabeth welcomed Kim into her home.

Kim also met young mothers who had escaped violence and the risk of child marriage. They have the opportunity to finish their education thanks to World Vision sponsors, and they were grabbing it with both hands.

“Once you educate these women, they're pretty emboldened,” Kim says. “They are very confident, they feel empowered, and they also set a precedent of what is and isn't okay, which is amazing.”

For Kim and Tom, the highlight of their journey was the opportunity to meet their sponsored child Jackline.

Kim and Tom were overjoyed to meet Jackline and see the difference child sponsorship is making, not only in her life but for her family and community.

“In a lot of the areas where child sponsorship is important, girls are often seen as property that can be sold,” explains Kim. “So the fact that you have the opportunity to help someone feel important and help them feel empowered because someone, somewhere around the planet is caring about them, it's a very small price to pay to offer that.

Kim was grateful to spend time with Jackline and meet her family and friends.

“One special thing is knowing that because Jackline’s sponsored, I know she'll be checked on every 90 days,” says Kim. “I know that she will have someone checking on her health care and her well-being. I know that she'll be in school and encouraged to dream big. She will be taught about her rights as well.”

For Kim, it was a unifying experience that made her proud to be a Kiwi.

“When you see that there are people in New Zealand who put money somewhere to literally transform communities… I feel proud for us, proud on behalf of Kiwis…”

But despite the huge transformation Kim witnessed, she couldn’t ignore the significant challenges young girls are still up against every day.

“I also met so many girls still facing child marriage, violence and injustice. Girls not able to go to school.”

“It's a really humbling feeling to be reminded that there is so much work that needs to be done globally for women.”

According to Kim, change is possible. That’s why she is asking Kiwis to join her in helping 1,000 girls fight for their rights by 8 March, International Women’s Day.

“There are four ways that sponsoring girls will change the world,” she says. “They become advocates against violence in their community. They're more likely to stay in school. It alleviates some of the burden of poverty. And they are more confident. They shine so brightly. And it's really beautiful.”

Jackline’s life has been forever changed through Kim and Tom’s sponsorship. But thousands more girls need support to become the force of change they were born to be.

Thank you so much for joining Kim. Right now, you can continue this work and support a girl to break free from poverty, for good. Sponsor a girl today.