Third visit a charm for sponsors Ron and Maureen

By Maureen and Ron Gardner, child sponsors

After our plans to visit our sponsored child were cancelled twice because of Bangladesh’s instability, we were given the go-ahead for our third visit in February.

After two days spent arriving in Dhaka, meeting with staff and having a security briefing, the next day it began. This was what we had been waiting for. Firstly, we had a briefing about the progress of all the programs they were working on. It was very impressive. We met again with many staff from our previous visits. It was great to see them again, and some new faces. Then all of us proceeded to visit our sponsored children and their lovely family. We have looked forward to this so much.

The whole family were waiting for us, even Rina and her new husband Sohel. We had sponsored Rina for almost seven years, so when she married we organised to sponsor her younger sister Popy, who loved the fact she was now the new sponsored child! We spent a great couple of hours with them and the village children.

Popy’s mum Ratna and her sister made a delicious morning tea for all of us – so generous! We were a very happy group. It was like a party! Then we had a wonderful afternoon attending the Child Forum Cultural Event. The children performed dances and plays with the theme “No marriage before 18”. They also made posters on children’s rights and read poems.

The next day we went to the primary school which Popy had gone to. All the past and present students were waiting. The children put on a cultural program for us. They were very talented. We met all the new littlies. They were so cute! After that we walked to where Popy is now at senior school. As well as a cultural display, the students showed us popular games; for boys the ‘rooster game’ and the girls ‘musical chairs’. We gave a computer and musical instruments to the school which we knew was needed through discussions with the community.

Left: Students perform a cultural dance during the visit. Right: Ron and Maureen meet their sponsored child Popy and her friends.

In the afternoon, we visited a very impressive community based organisation. The women there are to be greatly admired for the work that they do. Ten of the ladies have a sewing business with four machines making beautiful clothes. They also assemble sweet boxes for the local shops. They do these things in their ‘spare time’ of course, after house and rice field work. This village is an excellent example of people making a better life for their families and community; making so much from so little.

We gave them two sewing machines and craft supplies which were fundraised by the Baptist Sewing Group I attend. One of the benefits of visiting multiple times is that we’ve seen or heard about specific community needs, and are able to contribute to meet them when we return.

To our surprise at the ADP office there were more guests – Chaiti and her family, the sponsored child of our good friends, Bob and Barbara, whom we introduced to World Vision. It was wonderful to see them.

At this point the two days are over and it is time to leave again. It is so hard to say goodbye to our family and friends, because that is what the local staff are. We wish so much that other sponsors could experience a visit to their child - we are still the only ones to visit this community!

We wish to thank Chandan and the other staff – they are a very special group of people who take every care to ensure that our visits are safe and the success they are.

Our third visit to Bangladesh, and it was again a wonderful experience. We were very blessed to have this time with them and look forward to future visits.