Working together to protect children from harm

By Dalena Pangna, World Vision Promotor and child sponsor

At the beginning of July 2015, I had the fortunate opportunity to visit the Delhi Area Development Program during my time travelling in India. I have worked as a World Vision Promoter in Sydney for the past few years and have been sponsoring since day one. I was unbelievably excited to see the other side of sponsorship and meet those working on “the field”.

After filling up on a few cups of chai and many great conversations, I hopped into a taxi with Merry and Judson from the World Vision Delhi office to visit one of the projects not too far away. This particular project was really interesting, being five years in, still quite new, but established enough to see how much of an impact sponsorship has had on the community.

One highlight that struck me walking around was this particular narrow walkway. On one side, the houses were all extremely cramped together; bricks were falling apart and the entire street was seemingly tied together by a chaotic network of loose electrical wires hanging from every corner.

The other side of the walkway was a huge contrast. Homes were much more well-designed with open, communal spaces. The electrical and plumbing plans were more organised. The entire community was bustling with life and colour. There were many open shopfronts with women peddling bright textiles and children assisting with a monsoon of spices.

I asked Merry, “Why is there such a difference between these two sides of the street?”

She explained that a fire had broken out a few years ago. With so many hazards lying around and the homes so close together, the fire spread quick, so an entire section of the community had been destroyed. World Vision helped to rebuild this part of town with much better infrastructure that was sustainable and community orientated. It was amazing to see what difference could be made in only a few years!

Most of the visit was spent in the community’s education building with children taking part in the Play for Peace activity supported through child sponsorship. They greeted me with a wonderful play using some handmade puppets which they had been practising with to teach other kids in the community about their rights in a fun way!

I was so impressed at how mature, driven and passionate these kids were. We spent ages talking about all the projects they were working on to make their community a safer place: self-defence workshops collaborating with local police, personal development mentoring workshops and leadership camps. It was so inspiring to see so many staff, volunteers and children working together.

 

To say goodbye, I thought I would share a skill which is a delight to many children back in Australia. A good friend of mine who had worked as a clown donated many balloons. Not just any kind of balloons, I taught them how to make balloon animals! The excitement in that room was phenomenal and one of those moments I will keep with me forever. I could not pump the balloons up fast enough to keep up with these quick learners!

After some happy goodbyes we headed back to the World Vision office to share some lunch. It is common practice there to share food in the office so that was exactly what I did! Everyone had brought something different and I was so full after trying so many delicious meals!

Merry, Judson and the World Vision team both in Australia and India made this visit so easy and so inspiring. It was an experience of a lifetime which I will hold with me very dearly. It is a reminder that Australian child sponsors like you have the power to change so many lives and empower so many communities.

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