The question I never thought I’d be asked by a 12-year-old

Sally had many eye-opening moments while visiting her sponsored child in Uganda on a recent Overseas Experiences trip with World Vision. She was faced with a question from her family’s sponsored child that, while simple to answer, continues to bewilder her. Sally shares with us what shocked her, but also the moments that showed her firsthand how her family’s support is making a huge difference.

 

By Sally, Uganda Child Sponsor and Overseas Experiences participant

I had always wanted to go to Africa. I just didn’t know how it would happen – so when the opportunity came to experience Uganda with World Vision, I didn’t pass up the chance.

I think the trip appealed because it was an opportunity to experience a whole different way of life – being able to travel for 12 days around Uganda and build relationships with World Vision staff and community members. I didn’t really go with many expectations; I was just open for whatever wonderful experiences were coming.

As part of the trip I was required to fundraise on behalf of the communities we would visit in North West Uganda. One way of doing this was to encourage friends and family to sponsor children. I decided to host an afternoon tea and my daughter, her boyfriend, my friend’s daughter and my niece and I all sponsored a child from the Offaka project.

Meeting our four sponsored children

The Overseas Experiences team organised for our four sponsored children to visit the World Vision office in Offaka – so I had the opportunity to meet them! It was just lovely.

Nankunda* was my niece’s sponsored child. She is 12 and plays netball – as does my daughter so we were able to share stories. Nankunda had the most beautiful face. Sadly she has HIV/AIDS and her mum has it too. The staff were telling me that Nankunda recently had to go and stay with relatives because her mum was too sick.

 

            "As I was sitting there, Nankunda asked our interpreter “Was it still ok that we sponsored her even though she              has AIDS?” This thought had never entered my mind and I wanted to reassure her so I gave her a big hug and                said “of course”."

 

Nankunda responded with her beautiful beaming smile, it just resonated with me. She continued to sit beside me and we talked. Then when we were leaving, she ran alongside the bus waving. Having HIV/AIDS still has such a stigma attached. It’s just really, really sad.

My sponsored child, Milton who was only six, was very quiet. However, I was reassured that all the way home he probably wouldn’t shut up; he would just keep talking the whole way and that made me smile.

It was such an honour to meet those children and now I’ve got a stronger connection with them. All four of our sponsored children were family and they were sponsored by my family … it has had a big impact on me.

Seeing firsthand how our support is making a difference

While in Offaka, we learned that our fundraising would go towards a school that we visited. It was a school of 200 – 300 children with no toilets. It’s such a big concern because there are girls who must have periods and it just must be horrible. So we saw the plot where the toilets were going to be built.

Through child sponsorship, schooling had been improved greatly. There were school buildings and teachers were being employed to teach. So much had been done but the list keeps growing.

 

            "I feel that sponsorship was having the biggest impact in the area of healthcare. In each project, we visited the              main health centre and unfortunately even the ones that were maintained were quite bad compared to                           Australia, we don’t realise how blessed we are. Thankfully World Vision is working in each project to                                 improve the levels of health in the community so they were working with the government and healthcare                       system to do this."   

 

The Overseas Experiences program is fantastic for seeing what World Vision does. You see where the money is being used and how it’s benefiting the community, not just the child.

My heart was full to bursting when I came home from this experience. It’s a beautiful country that is sadly still suffering in lots of ways but the people, they’re just beautiful – and I know from my experience that what my family and I are doing in Uganda through World Vision is making a huge difference.

*Her name has been changed to protect her identity.

Interested in going on an Overseas Experiences trip with World Vision? Find out more

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