Being a child sponsor has changed my life, forever
Imagine if the life of someone you had never met changed forever because of you.
...And imagine if they somehow changed your life forever, too.
That first letter Renee received after she started sponsoring Maureen in Mwala, Kenya, was the first time she really understood the difference she could make in a child’s life – not just with financial support, but through care and empowerment of another person.
“I didn’t know what to expect. But when I got her first letter, it was amazing. I couldn’t wait to respond; I just ran to my computer,” says Renee.
“I now hang that letter on my refrigerator because I love seeing it every time I open the fridge. I really enjoy being able to see someone grow who is now part of my family… who I never thought would be.”
When Renee made the decision to sponsor a child through World Vision’s Child Sponsorship programme, she had hoped it would bring positive changes for Maureen – but Renee had no idea just how much it would impact her life too.
“The best birthday gift I ever received”
“The latest letter I got from her was on the weekend of my birthday. I had sent her some extra money at Christmas as a special gift – but it was actually a special gift for me,” says Renee.
That’s because Maureen shared how she had been able to buy a goat with the gift and explained what this simple gift meant to her family – fresh milk to drink every day, the start of a small herd for her family, the chance for them to earn a steady income which meant they could finally stand on their own two feet.
It symbolised the hope of a better future.
“So, there I was, celebrating my birthday with my friends, but the most meaningful thing that happened was that I knew Maureen was able to get a goat and that goat would give her family a way to have a better life, a way to have more money, a way that they would be able to do more things in their community.
“And that was so meaningful to me, and just the best gift that I ever received; that I didn’t even know I needed!” says Renee.
“Child sponsorship has changed me”
“Child sponsorship has changed me in so many ways. Maureen has shown me the beauty of being able to give without expecting anything in return; of being able to have someone you don’t know be part of your family; of just loving someone and sharing your life with them and watching them grow. It’s been an amazing experience.”
And as Maureen’s life takes new and exciting turns, so does Renee’s.
“I’m running my first marathon this year with World Vision. That was something I never expected, running a marathon, but here I am!” she laughs.
“It’s really hard because it’s not something I’ve ever done before. So, I’ve taken Maureen’s photo and I put it in front of my treadmill and she gives me motivation to know that I’m running for her, and to give kids like her clean water.”
“I can see her changing from the inside, out”
Through the letters and photos they exchange, Renee says she can see the changes sponsorship has brought in Maureen’s life too.
“She’s going to school for the first time this year, so that’s really exciting. I got a photo of her in her school dress looking so excited. The health of the community is in good condition despite COVID-19. I know that World Vision is – we are – really working hard to do more, be more and give more to the community."
“I can see her smile has changed from her first photo – she had just a little smile then. In her next photo, her smile was a little brighter. I can see her changing from maybe being a little bit shy to being a bit more outgoing. She’s telling me more in her letters too, so I can see her changing from the inside, out.”
The real power of sponsorship
That transformation – for both Maureen and herself – is what Renee sees as the real power of sponsorship.
“It’s amazing! It’s changed my life in so many ways. It’s helped me to be a better person and be able to give and have someone be part of my family – I have a true sister in another country who gives me so much in ways she doesn’t even know about,” says Renee.
“If you are thinking about child sponsorship, do it – it’s the best thing that can ever happen to you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I wouldn’t change it for the world, and I can’t wait to sponsor my next child.”