25 years of sponsorship – experiencing the difference firsthand

Tracy, a sponsor with World Vision for 25 years, visited the Homosha Assosa project in Ethiopia to meet her sponsored child for the first time and saw the progress that’s been made in the community through her support.

By Tracy, Ethiopia child sponsor

My name is Tracy and I have been a World Vision sponsor since 30th January 1990, a few years after I started working full-time.

I was drawn to World Vision through the faces of the beautiful children and because I thought I should help people who weren’t as fortunate as me.

After close to 25 years of largely anonymous support I was recently in a position to visit my current sponsored child in the Homosha Assosa project, Ethiopia.

"It was such a privilege to meet Zewde, who is now 16-years-old, and her family and to see the work done by World Vision in the local region."

 

I visited Zewde’s community and met her parents, two of her uncles and her grandmother. They welcomed me with a coffee ceremony – a highly regarded custom in Ethiopia. Despite not being a coffee drinker back home, I drank almost eight cups in two days at a number of ceremonies. It was delicious and a fabulous ceremony.

A gift for the whole family

I wanted to give Zewde’s family something they needed, but had no idea what I could take, so World Vision Ethiopia suggested I might want to wait until we met. I was initially thinking food or something but when Zewde's father said that they could really use a mattress I was delighted.

I didn't feel obligated but just felt that it would be a nice and hopefully helpful thing to do. So we went to the local market and a staff member and Zewde's Dad went in to negotiate the purchase without me first (as there is always a risk foreigners are charged more). He was delighted. I got a lovely thank you from them in a letter when I got home. I was so pleased that they were so pleased.

 

Seeing that her support was making a difference

I was only in Zewde’s community for one day, but it was a very memorable day. After a briefing at the World Vision office and meeting Zewde and her family, the local staff drove me around rural areas to show me an impressive range of projects.

The World Vision programs cover five core areas and I was shown examples for each:

  • Education – we visited school buildings built by World Vision;
  • Food security and water– we pumped clean water from wells and saw a veterinary building under construction;
  • Health – there were a number of health outpost buildings in the rural areas;
  • WaSH (which stands for ‘Water, Sanitation and Hygiene’)– a project promoting the use of toilets to replace open defecation; and
  • Sponsorship – there are 3,680 sponsored children in the region, with 18,400 children benefiting indirectly.

The World Vision projects and staff were well received by the locals.

I could see so much enthusiasm and potential in the children and young adults in the Homosha Assosa project.

 

"To be honest, I found the meeting with Zewde, her family and the local people very emotional – surprisingly so. There was a sense of great satisfaction to see sponsors’ investments making a difference. That said, I would do it all again".

 

The World Vision staff who assisted with my visit were amazing – all of them - the staff in Australia who provided the clearances for me to go, World Vision in Indonesia who assisted with documents while we were travelling prior to the visit, and most of all, the World Vision staff in Ethiopia. So many people were involved in the preparation of my trip, but I really must give special mentions to Clare in Australia (World Vision’s sponsor visit consultant) and Solomon in Ethiopia – absolute stars.

Thank you so much for facilitating my visit. I will definitely continue my sponsorship for another 25 years and after this visit will encourage everyone I know to do the same.

Want to read other stories like this? Read about Shelley's experience meeting her Ethiopian sponsored child.

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