One of the project suggestions on the original list that inspired all of this was to sponsor a child. Honestly, I had never really given sponsoring a child a whole lot of thought. I sort of assumed that they would just send you a generic picture and you weren’t really sponsoring any particular child.
This past fall, I was introduced to the organization World Vision through my running friends. They had all participated in a half marathon with Team World Vision to benefit clean water programs in Africa. After running with these ladies for months and hearing regular reminders about World Vision, I began looking into the organization. I am even planning to form a team at our church to run with Team World Vision in October.
In anticipation for running with Team World Vision, I met with a representative from World Vision. He told me a lot about the organization and mentioned their program for sponsoring a child. Today I spent some time reading the website and learning about their sponsorship program, and I decided that it was a wonderful program indeed!
Tonight Abby and I spent quite a while searching through the available children to pick one to sponsor. Abby’s original criteria was to find a four-year-old girl who was blonde, but somehow there weren’t too many of those (or any of them, actually) in the countries with available children. It took some convincing, but I did manage to convince Abby that the color of hair wasn’t important. What was important was the impact we could have by sponsoring a child. Even though she relented on the blonde hair, she did still pick a child because she thought her hair was cute. We ended up choosing Belinda, a four-year-old girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is just precious – with a big bun of hair on the top of her head. (Unfortunately, the World Vision website wouldn’t let me save the picture to my computer, or I would share it here.)
It costs $35 per month to sponsor a child, which is such a small amount to those of us in middle-class America. I can’t even count the number of times this year I’ve blown more than $35 on silly things. I don’t usually think twice before spending that amount of money. According to the World Vision website, the annual average income in Congo is $160 per year. That’s right – PER YEAR. Wow. Our $35/month donation is really significant when you consider that fact!
One of the things I really love about this program is that you can truly connect with your sponsored child. We can send her letters and even a 6×9 envelope full of suggested goodies. (Examples they gave were coloring books, colored pencils, stickers, pictures drawn by us, etc.) Abby was so excited about making pictures for Belinda that she rushed upstairs for her crayons. She made two pictures – one including a big picture of an ice cream cone. I explained to her that there are probably no restaurants or ice cream places where Belinda lives, and Belinda may not even know what ice cream is. I don’t think Abby could even begin to wrap her head around that concept. We will also receive letters and pictures from Belinda, as well as updates on her progress with school and the things going on in her community. I am really excited to watch Abby grow as she exchanges letters and pictures with a child living a whole world away and living such a different life.
The program even allows you to go visit your child. I wish I would have realized that before we chose someone from the Congo, as I’m pretty sure the Congo is one of the most dangerous places in the world. It’s pretty safe to say we will not be scheduling a trip there any time soon, but I think it’s awesome that this is something you can do.
If you have an extra $35 per month lying around, sponsoring a child through World Vision is a wonderful way to spend it!