A Rewarding Journey

In 2015, 16-year-old Lucy Egan travelled with her family to Indonesia, to meet the girl they’d been sponsoring for nearly a decade. No longer a child, Claudia was about to turn 18, and Lucy couldn’t wait to meet the Indonesian girl she’d grown up in tandem with, albeit in a different country, and in very different circumstances.

“On the 5th of January 2015, we travelled to Surabaya, Indonesia, to meet our sponsor child Claudia. We had been sponsoring Claudia for nine years and she was turning 18. It was very exciting and a little hard to imagine to think we were finally meeting the girl from the annual photos.

At the hotel in Surabaya we were met by Rere. She was our World Vision liaison, and our translator. She was very friendly, and a skilled interpreter. We were driven to the Urban Surabaya Project Centre. It was a bit like a surreal dream, to be in and amongst it – things seemed to be moving very quickly.”

Meeting Claudia

“We pulled up outside the centre, and immediately Rere introduced us to a class of very young children, who were studying after school. They could be there up to 9pm. We sat cross-legged in a room in the centre and waited for Claudia to arrive with bated breath. Claudia arrived not long after, and we were seeing her for the first time in flesh, not from a picture. We introduced ourselves with the help of Rere, to Claudia, her cousin Alfino and their community representative. We talked to her for half an hour, with Rere translating. We met other students while Claudia and Alfino were with us, and participated in some impromptu dancing and generally getting to know each other a little.

With Claudia and Alfino, we went in the van again on a tour of some of World Vision’s other sites not far from the centre, and met the proud children and families of the project whose lives were enriched and changed by World Vision’s help. It was profound and emotional. The most special part of it, however, was spending time with Claudia, as it was the first and probably last time we would ever see her, and it was bittersweet.”

When World Vision first started working in the Surabaya area, a large proportion of children were missing out on school. Parents had difficulty affording the fees, and schools lacked the basic essentials required to provide a quality education.

Through the program, families have been able to increase their incomes, meaning more children are now attending school. To contribute to quality education, tutors and teachers received training, and children were encouraged to join study groups. In the groups, children learnt appropriate behaviour and refined their comprehension on school subjects. Tutors learnt how to create engaging lessons, incorporating play, music, and arts and crafts into their classes. Additionally, there were groups set up for children with special needs, facilitated by experts in their field.

The Egan family was thrilled to learn that Claudia had finished high school and was now studying at university doing a Bachelor Degree in Faculty Economics and Major in Accounting.

“Claudia is now at university studying accountancy. It has been very rewarding to have been a part of her life. The hospitality and warmth of both the staff from World Vision in Surabaya and the children involved in the project will stay with us forever.”