Return visits strengthen connection for child sponsors

By Maddie Trewren, Cambodia child sponsor

When I first met my husband Ben in mid-2011, one of the things we first discovered about each other was a mutual love of Cambodia and its people.

Ben shared his excitement about meeting his sponsored child, Chanchorinai, earlier in the year through an annual Activate church visit to the project that many individuals and families were involved in through child sponsorship.

The following year, I went with a group from the Activate church community, including Ben, and met Chanchorinai, her dad, other children from her community and the wonderful staff at the World Vision Cambodia office. We visited community initiatives and learnt more about the ways World Vision works to empower local people to further develop business, social, health and education initiatives in the area.

Meeting Chanchorinai and her father in 2012, talking and playing in the yard and having lunch with them was an incredible experience and one that still moves me to tears. She took my hands with a shy smile, and linked them with both hers and Ben’s as we all talked and played.

Ben and I practised the broken Khmer we were both learning, as Chanchorinai showed her superior language learning skills and impressed me with her English. The World Vision staff were incredible at translating for us, sharing in our new friendships with each other, encouraging authentic interaction and joining in our excitement. Since then it’s been a privilege to learn more about the community in our letters between visits and we’re always planning the next trip over to see everyone.


When Ben and I went back to Southeast Asia in August of 2015, just the two of us for our fifth and third visits respectively, it was another example of just how much our relationships with both the staff and also Chanchorinai’s family have grown and developed.

We have always loved sharing the day with our church friends and the families of children they sponsor, but it was an amazing experience this year to further develop the authentic connection we have with Chanchorinai and her father.

They were both waiting as we arrived in the morning and were able to join us in a visit to a youth project that supported drug intervention in communities through funding and support from World Vision. The young people from the community performed a Khmer dance and we were able to see first-hand how empowering World Vision projects can be for local youth. The World Vision office building was new, as were some of the faces, but we were really excited to see old friends and make some new ones.

World Vision has been genuinely excited to facilitate our visits with Chanchorinai each year, and we are so thankful that we are able to be involved in the life of her beautiful family and with an organisation that is so connected to grassroots change and community development in a way that truly does encourage and empower everyone involved.