Stories

The Impact of Sponsoring a Child

By: Alexii Lardis | 3 years ago

In spring of 2014, I took a Help One Now trip to visit our community outside of Jinja, Uganda. I had been interning with the organization for six months and hadn’t left because my heart was completely moved by the cause. Upon discovering the opportunity to visit one of our communities—specifically the community that my sponsored child, Jackie, was in—I couldn’t refuse.

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I arrived in Jinja only to meet our local leader Pastor Edward and was immediately in awe of him. His presence and posture was simply the stance you would envision when you think “leader”. From working at Help One Now, I can honestly say that the best part of our organization is that we fund raise based on the needs of the local leader. Pastor Edward showed us both the church and school that he built—two structures that I think we often take for granted in the USA—yet two structures that simultaneously have impacted hundreds—maybe even 1000 individuals amongst the community. On the day that we visited the school, I met my Jackie. Before she even knew I was her sponsor, she ran up to me and jumped into my arms. I don’t think I put her down for 2 days.

The entire time I was there, I was witnessing the impact of a child sponsorship. I saw children with matching uniforms eating a hot meal at lunch. I saw books and pencils and pens. And I even saw costumes and instruments that the choir was able to use whilst performing.

But the part that I really saw the impact of a child sponsorship? It was when I met Jackie’s mother.

Alexii-Jackie-Mom

Help One Now offers 5 people the chance to sponsor an orphan and 2 people the chance to sponsor a vulnerable child. Vulnerable children are still living with their families, where they belong, but these families are living in extreme poverty and unable to provide education, healthcare or proper nutrition for their children. Our goal in these situations is to keep families together through community development and family empowerment, and make sure these kids are educated and healthy. Orphaned children in our communities receive 24/7 care from our local leaders, including education, food, clothing, healthcare, spiritual development and emotional care.

In Jackie’s case, her father died when she was a baby and her mother teaches at the school. To me, $40 a month equates to that of a coffee a day or a gym membership. But to Jackie? It was apparently life changing.

Jackie’s mother approached me and hugged me. She immediately said,

“Thank you for helping me raise my daughter.”

I was baffled. I knew I was helping but—raise? Apparently Jackie had a terrible infection from a wound on her leg the year prior. Had Jackie not entered our sponsorship program, Jackie’s mother feared that she may have lost her leg. She couldn’t afford for Jackie’s surgery until Pastor Edward stepped in.

Visiting Jackie’s family was quite easily the most humbling experience I have yet to encounter. I felt that I actually impacted a child’s life.

This feeling is the most rewarding gift that Help One Now has given me as an employee. For this, I am grateful. And for this incredible and indescribable reason—I encourage you to sponsor a child.

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