Nepal Global One: What I learned visiting sponsorship projects

Keira returned from Nepal prior to the country’s devastating earthquakes in April and May. We are pleased to report that no sponsored children were hurt in these disasters and that the sponsorship communities were relatively unscathed, with only minor damages in the areas. 

 

By Kiera, World Vision Executive Assistant and Nepal Child Sponsor

Having worked for World Vision for four years; I thought I knew about the kind of impact World Vision has in the field. This was a pretty arrogant assumption. “Yeah this type of stuff goes on in these countries and I know how World Vision helps”. Then I go about doing my work hoping that it has some sort of impact somewhere along the chain to the field.

 

 

But actually going there and seeing it with my own eyes was … I don’t think it actually prepared me for what I saw. At times I was quite confronted and quite challenged but it changed my perception on a lot of issues.

It actually changed my spending habits and the way I do things now I’m back in Australia. I came back a different person, with different values and different expectations.

I have a seven-year-old sponsored child, her name is Purnima. We’ve been sponsoring children for a while now but she’s a relatively new sponsored child for us. Purnima lives in the Chisapani project in Western Nepal, where World Vision only recently started and where children are becoming sponsored. I chose her because she’s a month older than my eldest daughter. As they celebrate their birthdays relatively close together I thought it would be nice for them to correspond with each other.

Meeting Purnima was the highlight of my trip. We had a photo on the fridge at home, but actually meeting her in person made it all the more real – this is actually a real child in a real situation. I was honoured to be able to spend time with her and her family and through a translator get to know her; to talk about Australian wildlife, what her hopes and aspirations are and what she likes doing at school.

 

Seeing the similarities between my nearly seven-year-old and Purnima was just amazing; the similarities of children really do carry across all geography. Some of the things Purnima would say or do, I would constantly think “Aww, my daughters do that"

I found out that Purnima’s father works in India and doesn’t see her, her mother abandoned her when she was a baby and her maternal grandfather has raised her. I greatly appreciated her grandfather being able to be there with us – for him it meant a day where he didn’t work in his field and garden.

I learned firsthand that her family was being helped through World Vision and how the sponsorship funds provide assistance to the community and the school. Purnima was encouraged to attend school by World Vision – they spoke to her grandfather and helped him understand the importance of her gaining an education as opposed to staying home to work in the field and garden or cook.

In Kailali, another project I visited that’s been operating for nearly 15 years, we were fortunate enough to visit a birthing clinic where sponsorship money is invested into training midwives and to purchase equipment. Women in the local area hike in steep terrain up to six hours to give birth. We saw the equipment and goods that were donated; including a humidicrib for when babies are born and there were parental education posters on the wall.

We also spent time with a few Savings Groups (groups World Vision start in the community to encourage group saving) – they’re amazing and the women’s savings group was just phenomenal. It was incredible to sit with a group of women who set up this initiative – most of them were originally discouraged by their husbands however the women agreed to save small amounts where they could and pooled their funds together. They are now so successful they can give out loans to others in the community and the money they make not only boosts their savings but also allows them to contribute to the sustainable development in their community. World Vision also assisted these women by helping them to develop a business plan which outlines their goals and details how they plan to achieve them.

 

 

Seeing what the Chisapani team has done in such a small space of time, you can’t help but see the potential of what they could accomplish 15 years down the track; their potential for transformation, for change, for a better community is really encouraging that I am hopeful they will accomplish the many wonderful things the Kailali project has done.

 

Travelling to Nepal with the Global One group was physically and emotionally challenging but ultimately life-changing and the experience will stay with me for forever.

Due to the earthquakes, we are not currently leading trips to Nepal. If you are interested in visiting another country with World Vision, you can learn more here.

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