I had been researching organizations that would allow me to build relationships with impoverished children and contribute to their chances at pursuing their dreams when an amazing person introduced me to Children International (CI).
CI has been established for more than 75 years and aims to provide for children in need. Over the years it has been improving its approach for offering such support, which I found to be an important factor. Eight-four percent of the money CI earns is directly contributed toward helping children throughout the world. CI works in 10 countries across the globe.
I loved how easy it was to choose a child to sponsor, including selecting the child’s gender, age range, poverty level, and nationality. All of this can be accessed on CI’s website. For only $32 a month you can become a sole sponsor of a child who is desperately in need of help to break the bonds of poverty. Your sponsorship provides life-changing benefits to your child of choice.
I decided to sponsor two children: Nicole, an 8-year-old girl from Quezon City, Philippines; and Nelly, a 10-year-old girl from Cartagena, Colombia. I was welcomed with an information packet that included a recent picture of each child, details about each child’s housing, schooling, monthly family income, siblings, etc., as well as backgrounds of their respective cities so that I could be more familiar with their environments.
Building a relationship with your sponsor child is easily done by writing to that child online. The child can then respond to your letter via snail mail. Some children may not speak your language, but they have translators to relate what you send. They will write to you in the language they understand, and if it’s not your language, you will see a translation below their message. I made it a goal to visit Nicole, and three months after begin my sponsorship of her, I made the trip to the Philippines.
I arrived at my hotel in Manila in the early morning and Children International provided transportation to pick me up there and take me to the headquarters in Quezon City. I was warmly greeted by the Headquarters staff members whom had been awaiting my arrival, as well as Nicole and her mother. The director of CI in Quezon City introduced us all and then we went over the guidelines of my day-long visit with Nicole and her mother.
Their professionalism and kindness was refreshing, and CI has standards to be admired.
I was able to visit Nicole and her whole family and I felt lucky to be her sponsor when I could tell how special it was for them to meet their sponsor in person. I saw the love the family had for each other. They may not have much, but they do find happiness in that.
As money and material possessions are limited for Nicole and her family, she was creative in gifting me something personalized. Nicole created a scrapbook of her growing up, which included photos, drawings, a letter, and a bracelet she had made for me. I brought her school supplies and a microphone so that she could better enjoy her favorite activity, singing.
Spending the day with Nicole and her mother was entertaining as well as enlightening. We decided to go to a place most kids love and a place I knew Nicole hadn’t been to because of the entrance fee. Manila Ocean Park is a marine theme park and a premiere educational facility. It has exhibits, live entertainment, sea life encounters, and the viewing of a wide variety of ocean creatures. Nicole and her mother glowed with happiness.
An important part of the visit was for me to see the community center, which is where the sponsorship money goes. Children International provides at the community center:
- Health care, dental care and medicine
- Nutritional support
- Resources to educate a child
- Family assistance and emergency aid
- Signature life skills programs
- A robust Youth Program
Here is where children are able to access the learning center. The library, a favorite place for the children, is filled with children’s books that encourage them to read. The child here is sponsored through Children International. He sits and writes to his sponsor. He and the others find great joy in doing so.
Interviewed by Focus Magazine to discuss my visit to the Philippines with my sponsor child
Thank you to Focus Magazine for their coverage Children of the World