The couple have seen the smiling face of their Sri Lankan sponsored child Mathoura on the fridge of their kitchen for almost 12 years. So, when they finally decided to make a trip to Sri Lanka earlier this year, they knew they had to visit her.
“Our small donation had seen Mathoura through primary school and some of her secondary school,” said Sue and Gary, “and now just turned twenty, we were keen to find out what life might hold for her next.”
Mathoura comes from Mannar – a northern region of Sri Lanka which was once ravaged by civil war. World Vision has been working in the community to help more than 4,000 families rebuild the community’s health, educational, agricultural and employment opportunities. This long-term approach is a stark difference to the ad-hoc and sporadic humanitarian efforts that Gary and Sue had so often read about in the media.
They’ve always been happy to make a difference, but naturally wondered if their dollars were being spent wisely and targeted in the right direction to reach the people who need help the most. Their sponsorship visit assured the couple that while sponsorship of a particular child is a key focus of the program, their donations are being used across a broader development program.
Not only are Gary and Sue supporting Mathoura, they're supporting an entire community of Sri Lankan children.
“[When] we finally reached a small village in a coconut grove amongst the rice paddies, we were shocked to find almost 50 small children forming a guard of honour, each waving a small Australian flag. We were overwhelmed,” they said. At the head of the guard of honour in a beautiful, flowing pink dress, they saw the unmistakeable figure of Mathoura.
She smiled and came forward, taking both Gary and Sue by the hand, anointing them with the traditional welcome of a red dot on the forehead. Mathoura and her best friend performed a dance while a mother and daughter sang a song in harmony. And while they couldn’t understand the words, the song went straight to their hearts. They could see very clearly that Mathoura is clearly becoming a leader in her village.
“We were both humbled and gratified that we have been able to contribute to her life in some small way,” they said. Following a beautiful lunch prepared by the village, Mathoura took them into the community hut to see a wall of bookshelves with an extraordinary collection of sporting trophies, medallions and ribbons, all won by her.
Gary and Sue were over-the-moon to discover the talents of their sponsored child who aspires to become a physical education teacher.
After discussion with her family, they discovered that Mathoura aspired to become a physical education teacher, which, thanks to the help of World Vision, is now possible.
“This overwhelming experience was the highlight of our visit to Sri Lanka. At a time when the world can appear a little crazy, it seems there are still simple, positive and tangible things that can be done to improve the lives of others. And at the same time, add more meaning to one’s own life. Thank you to World Vision for making this all happen.”
You can visit your sponsored child too. Step into their world to see firsthand the impact you’re making. It can be a life-changing experience for you and your sponsored child. Learn how here.
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