Back in Queensland, Adrienne shares the experiences of meeting her sponsored child Sahrul, the unexpected moments she had with his mum and why she’s been inspired to pack up and work alongside the women she met.
“World Vision look like they’re helping, just in the six year difference between the visits, I can see a big change.”
What was it like meeting Sahrul for the first time?
Sahrul is such a lovely boy and his mum was so nice - she made me two huge containers of home-made biscuits. I took him some pens, pencils, books and I did a calendar of some Australian photos. I got him a couple of t-shirts that he put on straight away, but they were too tight and we all just burst out laughing.
What was Sahrul’s reaction when he met you?
Sahrul was just surprised that I looked just like them and that I was an ordinary sort of person. But I suppose it is this really big thing, he’s got this person in another country who is helping. I found out Sahrul had his English classes the next day and I said “look, perfect opportunity to practice your English”.
What was it about the day that really surprised you?
Sahrul’s mum and I, we were about the same age, we couldn’t speak the same language, but we just clicked. His mother actually said to me, “I love it how you write to my son; it means so much for him to be getting your letters. We just get so excited when we know that you have written to him”. I told her, “If I’m a little bit late in responding, I’m sorry, I get really busy with my work. But I will always find the time to write back when Sahrul writes to me.” We were in tears when we said goodbye. I want to get back there.
Could you describe a moment that really touched you?
World Vision set up this group of women - all volunteers - who help with victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse for women and children at the community centre. I spoke with some of these women, I understand that this is actually quite a big problem in the area and it really affected me.
I work as front line administration staff at my local public hospital, so I see victims of domestic violence and abuse from a medical perspective. Just to see that these women are willing to go and help people, it just really got to me.
Now, these community volunteers are self-sufficient. They still use the community centre, and World Vision still support them, but World Vision has actually shown them how to fundraise. Just the brilliant work that they’re doing, it’s now just made me want to give up my job here and go and do social work and help people like that.
You visited the Urban Surabaya project six years ago to meet your previous sponsored child - since your first visit, could you see much of a difference in the project?
When I was in the Urban Surabaya project for the first time in 2008, there was a really big red light district – but that has now closed down. That really affected me last time. I think the reason why the domestic violence and sexual abuse project had been set up was because of the flow on effects of the red light district.
What was the biggest transformation that you noticed?
The people in the community don’t have much but they’re happy with their lot in life. World Vision look like they’re helping, just in the six year difference between the visits, I can see a big change.