By Elizabeth, Brazil Child Sponsor
After 20 years as a World Vision child sponsor, visiting Ariel (the second child I’ve sponsored) with my husband in Salvador, Brazil was an exciting and emotional journey.
Seeing the work that World Vision does in the field and how they transform the lives of children and communities is remarkable and something I’m proud to be a part of.
For me, the decision to start giving 20 years ago was simple. At the time I joined World Vision it was a dollar a day to sponsor a child (20 years later it’s only $1.25). I’ve never missed that money or thought I should’ve spent it on something else.
I hoped my dollar a day was making a difference and now I’ve seen that it is. It’s not just the child I sponsor who benefits; it’s their family and community.
Ariel lives in the Cajazeiras sponsorship project–in a community with 700,000 inhabitants squashed together in tiny run-down houses. We were collected from our hotel on Saturday afternoon by Maurcio, who works for World Vision and taken to the community centre, which opened especially for us. There was a great turn-out of approximately 40 kids including Ariel, his older brother Isais and their mum, Leila.
World Vision had prepared an afternoon of activities. The staff delivered a presentation outlining the work they’re doing in Ariel’s community, the successes they’ve achieved and challenges still to overcome.
Drugs are the biggest problem in this area, followed by child labour. World Vision has established a project to try and improve community relations between youth in the community and the police – it’s an amazing piece of work being led by someone who himself was assisted by World Vision. The staff I met are brilliant and doing a great job – Maurcio, Cassia, Eliana, Priscila, Carla, Alessandro, Deivison, Emerson and Erika (sorry if I’ve missed anyone).
Ariel was a little bit shy at the beginning but he warmed up towards the end and I managed to get a smile out of him and a lovely photo.
What the kids want more than anything is access to a playground, there isn’t one in Cajazeiras, where World Vision supports some 3000 children. The local government take hardly any interest in the area and provide very little investment, which is a stark contrast to the multi-millions they invest in improving the beachfront where the middle and upper class residents live.
I will never forget this visit and will continue to support World Vision and encourage others to do so. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to visit Ariel and his family and see all the fantastic work being done by World Vision. Thank you to everyone involved.
World Vision is working with the local government in these sponsorship projects in Brazil to encourage and help authorities identify the needs of the communities we work with so that transformation is sustainable and effective in the longer term. This would not be possible without supporters like you.