There is hope this Christmas
How Child Sponsorship is taking away the worry of hunger
Nothing beats the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree on a dark December night.
It’s said that Christmas trees were originally lit to remember the birth of Jesus – the arrival of light in a dark world. How much we need that light today!
A year of crises
This world certainly can be dark at times. The past year has been filled with crisis after crisis, many of which World Vision has responded to.
Despite the difficulties children and their families face, World Vision has not lost hope. Our staff and our amazing supporters know that everything we do is making a long-lasting difference in the lives of children living in some of the hardest places.
If we work together, the darkness will not overcome the light.
In Bangladesh, Child Sponsorship is making all the difference to Ankita’s life.
At eight, Ankita is the eldest of three and lives with her family in a coastal area full of rivers, canals and dams. In this part of the country, most people make a living from subsistence farming, delivering goods, day labouring or fishing. Education levels are low with only about half of children making it past primary school. Meanwhile, poverty levels – and consequentially food insecurity – are high.
Where Ankita lives, girls are often seen as a burden rather than a blessing. Their education is considered a waste of money because rather than work they are expected to get married, have children and look after their husband’s family.
Sadly, malnutrition is widespread, resulting in stunting (low height for age) and hindered development. This harms children’s health, wellbeing and future opportunities.
The season of worry
Ankita’s father Nikhil’s work can be unreliable at times.
“My husband is the only earner for the five members of our family,” says Ankita’s mother, Kobita.“He works as a day labourer as a carpenter. In the rainy season when there are storms and rains, there is less work available in the area. And, because of the shorter days in the winter, people take less people for work in those days.”
In the past, Kobita would have to borrow food from the neighbours to feed her children. This made the rainy season one of worry – until Ankita was sponsored.
How sponsorship helped
Through child sponsors, Ankita’s family received some ducks. This gave Ankita and her younger siblings a source of food and the family a new source of income.
Over the past two years, sponsors have provided more than 500 families in Ankita’s area with ducks.
Each family receives 8-10 ducks which produce 5-6 eggs a day. These eggs are an important source of nutrition but can also be sold for money. Additionally, over time, the family can breed and sell ducklings.
World Vision trains families on how to keep their ducks safe and healthy. We also provide training in agriculture and money management.
Mothers have an opportunity to join savings groups where they can build capital to pay for their children’s education, improve their homes or start other small businesses. This means they can contribute to the family’s finances, reducing gender inequalities within the community.
Kobita is part of a savings group. She also takes Ankita’s five-year-old sister to a growth and monitoring programme, supported by sponsors.
“I was very worried [when I found out] that my child was suffering from malnutrition,” she says. “Because a malnourished child cannot develop, their brain development is hampered, they cannot do well in education. I was worried and sad.”
World Vision runs an intensive programme to help mothers or carers learn how to cook nutritious food. This results in parents knowing how to raise healthy children and the overwhelming majority of children returning to the healthy weight range by the end of the programme.
A “good life”
Child Sponsorship has given Ankita and her family a new perspective.
“My dream is that my children will complete their education,” says Kobita, who sees how far they’ve come and how far they can go. “At present, we have ducks, a house, chickens. In the future we hope to have a concrete building house. We will have some land, a water pump, so that my children don’t suffer from any problems. They can have a good life.”
“I like to go to school,” Ankita says. “I want to be a nurse. I want to help people when they are hurt.”
Sponsor a child this Christmas
Even today, when too many children are experiencing hunger, there can be ENOUGH for everyone. Enough nutritious food to end child hunger and malnutrition.
Sponsoring a child is one solution to global hunger. This Christmas, bring a little more light into the world – along with your tree.
Find out more about sponsoring a child today.