Colombia: Meeting sponsored children a blessing for Jann

By Jann Alhafny, Colombia Child Sponsor

The night before my daughter and I are going to meet our two beautiful sponsored children Luisa and Samuel in Colombia, I am bursting with excitement, anticipation and happiness.

Javier, from World Vision Colombia, is waiting for us in the lobby of our hotel the next day when we go down at 9am. We drive to the World Vision office where we are all meeting. The office is located in a school supported by World Vision so we are given a short tour of the school. Apparently the school is doing extremely well academically. The first thing that I notice is how happy all the children are. They are noisy, playing, laughing and some are playing soccer. We are taken to a classroom to meet some of the children who greet us in English with a lot of enthusiasm. In the school, they have a very strong emphasis on English, obviously, because they really need that these days, to help them get a job, but also a very strong influence on IT.

The teacher of the class is herself a former sponsored child. How heart-warming to witness this type of outcome from the child sponsorship program.

When we walk into the room to meet the families, Luisa and Samuel are busy drawing beautiful pictures for us. They are both shy, well-mannered and so polite. The children finish their drawings and we engage in conversation about the children and about World Vision, their work and the difference that they are making to the children’s lives and to the community. Javier is full of information and is very proud of the work that has been done and the results that have been achieved in a challenging situation.

We all head off to a beautiful park that is full of iguanas, monkeys, squirrels and sloths all roaming free. The children really enjoy this and are excited to see the monkeys. It is very hot there. They don’t have any seasons because it’s on the equator.

We travel to an area that World Vision works in and we are lucky enough to witness one of their sports programs in action, which helps the kids with their self-esteem and it gives them somewhere to go – it gives the kids a sense of pride and keeps them off the streets. Javier says, “Perhaps there’s the next Maradona there!”

It is now time to say our farewells which is going to be hard. It is an emotional farewell but I am leaving with so much hope for these families due to the impact that being part of the World Vision program has had on their lives and knowing that even though their life is not easy there can be wonderful futures ahead. World Vision is helping Luisa’s mum to try and set up a little business.

It was really good to actually see firsthand the work that World Vision does and how they are able to improve the quality of life for not only the children but entire communities. The respect that the community has for World Vision is a respect that is well earned and shows just how much impact they have on the community.

To anyone thinking of visiting their sponsored children, do it. You will not be disappointed.

Now when people ask, “But how do you know that the money you give actually does any good?” I can answer with assurance because I have seen it for myself. My knowledge and understanding of the child sponsorship program, its challenges and successes, are much better than they were before and I will now be a more effective ambassador. My life has indeed been blessed.