Ever wondered what happens to sponsored children beyond the program? When their sponsorship ends, it doesn’t mean World Vision stops working with them to help build their future.
Meet Anita, a twenty-one-year-old former sponsored child.
Anita, 21, lived through the Rwandan genocide – the only one in her family. She was taken in by a foster family and later became a sponsored child where she was able to complete primary school. Even though her sponsorship finished years ago, Anita has been heavily involved in vocational training through World Vision and has recently benefited from donated resources that will literally change her future.
When the genocide ended in 1994, over 800,000 people had been murdered – 300,000 of these victims were children. In addition, 95,000 children had been orphaned. Some lost both their parents and were taken in by relatives that had survived. Others lost parents and as a result, many children chose to form families of their own with the eldest taking responsibility for their siblings. Anita’s case was quite different.
Anita’s entire family perished during the Rwandan genocide. A generous foster family took her in at the age of one - too young to hold memories of what happened.
“I was so lucky. The family that adopted me is so affectionate. They did not have a lot to offer like paying for my school fees, but at least I had a roof over my head. I had food to eat, a family and a home,” Anita says.
“In fact, as child, I thought Mukamana; the lady that took me in was my biological mother. I discovered the details at the age of 11.”
“I don’t have any siblings. For many years I wished and hoped that one day someone would come to this village looking for me. The possibility of connecting to at least one of my relatives kept me hopeful for years,” she said.
In 2001, World Vision identified her as one of the children that needed support and was registered under the sponsorship program. World Vision enrolled her in school, paid her fees and provided educational materials such as books, a uniform and pens until she completed primary school.
“I was extremely happy when World Vision came in,” says Mukamana, her adoptive mother.
But then life became hard again when Anita didn’t continue on to secondary school. She became unemployed for almost two years.
“That was the most challenging moment in my life. I always worked hard to be totally accepted in the family. Now that I was out of school, I had nothing to hold onto. My dream was gone. I felt empty and wondered what my life would be,” she recalls.
When World Vision Rwanda was made aware of her situation, they enrolled her into a vocational school along with 19 other former sponsored children to do a six month sewing course.
Just recently, in June 2014, World Vision Australia donated 70 big rolls of fabric that gave Anita the opportunity to expand their work.
The fabric is part of a donation that included long sleeve shirts, overalls and reflective vests that were distributed to vulnerable people in various World Vision projects.
“We have since worked together under a cooperative called ‘Heaven of Hope’. We rented a house that we use as a workshop. We pay rent together and we are giving back to the community by training other former sponsored children,” Anita says.
“[These resources are] making a huge impact to the cooperative’s income. Since we have the raw materials now, we are focusing on creating high quality shirts, dresses for women, skirts, trousers for men and various outfits for children,” says Adrine, the president of Heaven of Hope.
“These donated fabrics will not only benefit the 20 members of the cooperative, but also many more youth that are being trained by Heaven of Hope members.”
Jean, a member of the Heaven of Hope cooperative is confident the donated resources and continued support is making a difference.
“It is amazing to see orphans and vulnerable children becoming job creators in our community. We thank World Vision for giving us the skills, machines, and now the quality fabrics.”