Nepal: 7 reasons why visiting your sponsored child has a bigger impact than you might think

Thinking of visiting your sponsored child?

The value of meeting the boy or girl whose photo you have fixed to your fridge or desk is priceless – not just for you, but for your sponsored child, their family and the community too.

Pam took her son, Dale and daughter, Emily across to Nepal to meet 16-year-old Harka, Pam’s sponsored child since 2008. Here is why she believed her trip was worthwhile – for Harka as well as his community in the Kailali West project.

1.  Your interest means so much to your sponsored child

“‘What do you do with the cards I send?’ Harka asked me. ‘I keep them in a special folder,’ I said, ‘so that you know you are important to me.’

They do keep your cards and letters, they are very precious to them and knowing that I had kept mine was a huge encouragement. It’s important to him that someone cares beyond his village.”

2.  Communities are proud because of what they can achieve with your support

“I was really impressed that people were proud of being sponsored. As we went along a road in the village, the World Vision staff would happily point out ‘that’s a sponsored child’. The way World Vision operates - they’re very professional. People are proud of what they achieve and that was a bit of a surprise I think.”

“Harka’s mum was very happy and very proud. His father gave a speech and said, ‘thank you very much, without what you do, Harka would not go to school’.”

3.  Children are proud to show you aspects of their life

“I gave Harka a soccer ball because he told me that it was one of his interests. He went out with his brother to kick the ball in the blazing sun to show me that he could play.

He showed me around his village with the World Vision staff. He was shy to use his English, but he said ‘that’s where my friend lives and we sit together in school!’ He was quite proud to be with us.”

4.  You learn things you can’t learn in Australia

“You learn so much more about the community, your sponsored child and a lot about the context of their life. I learned that Harka was from a particular caste, and you don’t find out about that in Australia.

I also met former sponsored children – including young girls who were doing development work as a result of their experience being sponsored and educated. They were giving back to their community and developing independence, along with the villages and communities. It’s not about World Vision staying there forever - they are starting up a continuing process.”

5.  Planning the trip is not as difficult as you think

“From the very beginning World Vision was very supportive, very encouraging. I’ve had experience with developing countries and generally things don’t go as planned - but they did. We had someone who met us at the airport, everything was very well planned. The staff would follow up with phone calls, even at the airport; it was very professional and sincere.”

6.  You’re building a mutually trusting relationship

“World Vision Nepal organised my family’s internal travel - I absolutely thought that World Vision invested in my family. Obviously there is an investment in having sponsors go overseas. I trust my funds with World Vision and they trust me enough back, that’s quite a reciprocal relationship.

I have high respect for the staff as a result of their professionalism - they are remarkable people and very intelligent. It’s a country with a lot of corruption and you hear stories about non-government organisations and money getting diluted. I was impressed all the way through, and so were my children.”

7.  Your journey of discovery can inspire others

“Travelling together as a family to a developing country was a very valuable experience. My son Dale had never been overseas before. Just having the result that Dale wanted to sponsor a child as a direct result of the trip ... he can be quite a sceptic; the whole thing left an impression on him.

Dale and Emily were also able to learn more about me, and me dealing with difficult situations. That’s an important part of the experience and learning more about each other as well. The whole process was a journey of discovery.”