A former sponsored child shares her journey to success
By Rosanna E. Menchaca, communications manager, Paraguay (with files from Javier Mendoza)
Alba was eight when she was “blessed” by someone, more than 8,000 km away, who cared. “If I saw [my sponsor] now I would give her a hug and tell her it was all worth it,” says Alba, the nursing-school graduate who’s now 24 and working in a lab. We caught up with the grateful young adult to hear about her journey through sponsorship with Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC). Check it out.
What was your life like before sponsorship?
Life was not easy. It was just my Mom and my brothers, and we had many needs. At the time, finishing school was a dream. Our expectations changed when [CCFC came to] our community, and we started to participate in activities. People helped us, trained us; they taught us we could achieve our dreams. That helped me to change my point of view and achieve things I did not think I could.
What is it like to receive a letter from your sponsor as a child?
It is indescribable. You cannot imagine how it feels. [But,] it is not only about the letter; it’s also about the feeling that someone who does not know you is interested in you — in your studies, in your life. Sometimes, even your relatives do not care so much. I always kept my letters in a box in my closet. Unfortunately, my house was in a low part of the community and flooded. All my letters were [ruined].
What did you share with your sponsor in your letters?
She shared about her life, her country and customs. We shared about our worlds. I learned [she spoke] English, they play hockey on ice (in Canada) and the beaver is its national animal, just like the maple is the national tree. Being sponsored represented a huge change — a before and an after to me, my family and my community. [My sponsor] always told me to continue studying, so I would have the tools to reach my dreams.
What do you remember most about growing up in a sponsored community?
I remember school support, snacks, lunches, workshops — and what I liked most — camps, because we could see our friends. We lived six blocks from the community centre. I grew up there; it was my house, our house. The people there educated us in values, taught us to be good children and to help our community. [That’s why] most children participating in the program excelled in school, in leadership. I have other childhood friends who are now professionals.
How did your community change after CCFC support?
The community changed a lot. Now there are trained and fortified community organizations that develop projects and [work] with the municipality (to improve local services and quality of life). Before, there was a lack of community organization, and there was so much need.
How are you enjoying your job in clinical analysis?
I like what I do; I can help so many people…. If not for the program and my sponsor, I do not think I could have done it.
To learn how you can help to change a child’s life for the better, visit ccfcanada.ca/sponsor-a-child.
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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada works globally to support children and youth who dream of a better world. For nearly 60 years, we’ve brought together diverse people and partnerships, driven by a common belief: education extends beyond the walls of a classroom and is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world. We focus on breaking barriers preventing access to inclusive, quality education for all, especially girls.