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Students at a primary school meet child sponsors, Uganda
16 August 2023

Child sponsors meet their sponsored children

“It was a moment that will never leave me”

In 2023, a group of child sponsors – alongside World Vision staff – travelled to Uganda to meet their sponsored children. Three of those child sponsors here report on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the impact their giving has made – on the children, the community, and themselves. 

Ruth, Simon and Olivia 

Ruth, Simon and Olivia have each shared about their visit. Here’s a little bit about them. 

Arriving… but not their luggage! 

The group landed in Entebbe Airport in the early hours after a long flight via Egypt and Rwanda. Although disappointed that their luggage – packed with gifts for the children – hadn’t arrived with them, Simon says it helped the group to gel: “As our bags didn’t catch up with us for five days, we got to know each other really well – as the communal toothpaste and deodorant made the rounds! I don’t think we ever got too whiffy, though. That was literally the only thing that went wrong in our entire trip, which in every other way was wonderful.” 

In Kampala 

The group’s rest day in Uganda’s capital Kampala is described vividly by Olivia: “It was as exciting, vibrant, and chaotic as I’d imagined – we were immediately struck by the busy roads filled with motorcycles containing up to four passengers, unusual loads, and often so much fruit we were baffled as to how they stayed upright! There was wonderful music with its stunning African polyrhythms in the air, food stalls, clothing, and crafts flooding the streets, along with the beautiful welcoming smiles from everyone you made contact with.” 

Motorbike laden with goods, Uganda
Ugandan man making the most of his transport

As well as getting a feel for life in Kampala, the group were given safety and safeguarding instructions before heading to the region where they would meet their children. 

A special welcome 

The group’s first community visit was to a school where they were greeted by children shouting and waving. Olivia recalls, “Set against a backdrop of lush mountainous vegetation, the sun beating down, the children’s beaming smiles and the sound of the drums beating, it was hard to believe the suffering this school had seen before the help of charities such as World Vision.” (For the past two decades the community has been recovering from the effects of a brutal war.)

Ruth shares, “There is no way that I can convey the atmosphere. I don’t think there was a single one of us that didn’t have tears in our eyes as we were surrounded by hundreds of smiling faces.”  

At the school, the children sang songs celebrating the transformation and impact World Vision has had on their wellbeing.  

Especially celebrated was the WASH Club (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and the addition of running water and latrines. Clean water and an understanding of good hygiene practice have significantly reduced the risk of disease, allowing the school to focus on education. Because of this, they have doubled their numbers. 

In fact, while the group was visiting, the District Chief Education Officer announced that the school was going to be recognised as a model school, meaning more resources and the ability to direct their own development and future. 

Ruth says, “It was made very clear to us that this has come about as a result of the partnership working with World Vision to develop the school’s infrastructure.” 

Visiting different projects 

The group were taken to see a range of projects, including a health centre, which local man Achode Jonathan had persuaded World Vision to expand. It’s now a maternity centre, offering a range of services to mothers, including nutritional advice and training.  

Ruth – herself a medical practitioner – remarks, “There was an immunisation clinic running and we heard how much safer mums and babies are generally since the project began but specifically how maternal and child mortality has significantly reduced. The facility was basic but followed international guidelines...” 

They also visited a water pumping station and pipeline installation, which, as a collaborative work between the community, central government and World Vision, was particularly heart-warming for Ruth. A project that has resulted in a network of water for 7,000 families, easing life for older people, making it possible for children to go to school and reducing waterborne diseases by up to 80%. 

“Gorret bolted towards me, arms wide open and smile beaming... It was a moment that will never leave me” - Olivia

Meeting the children 

Of course, the biggest highlight for each member of the group was meeting their sponsored child.  

“Over the eight years of sponsorship,” shares Olivia, “we had written letters back and forth, sent photos, Christmas, and birthday cards, and [Gorret] had become family to me. I told myself not to get too excited (almost impossible) as I may be greeted with a very shy young lady, but to my utter delight it was the exact opposite! ... Gorret bolted towards me, arms wide open and smile beaming, she almost knocked me off my feet! It was a moment that will never leave me.” 

Simon recounts his meeting with Esther and her family: “What a truly lovely family and they came with gifts from their farm: sugar cane, enormous avocados and pineapples. This was very moving as they were so poor and we had very little to give as all our gifts were in the luggage that had not yet arrived. We are assured that all those gifts are now with them. Many tears were shed when we had to say goodbye.” 

Ruth says, “We had a lovely couple of hours together chatting via a World Vision interpreter, having a meal together and exchanging gifts. Isha’s family bought me a beautiful bowl filled with avocados, bananas, pineapple and a jack fruit.”  

School children looking at pictures on a camera
Olivia says sponsoring a child is the single biggest achievement of her life

Life changing 

The experience of visiting Uganda and meeting their sponsored children has been life-changing for Ruth, Simon and Olivia. And it’s the people they encountered that changed them, as Simon explains: “[They] have a beauty all of their own, forever smiling and infinitely generous of their time and wisdom. They face huge challenges of poverty and the impacts that has on health, education and opportunity. But their generosity of spirit is something we could well learn lessons from. Thank you World Vision for giving us the opportunity to meet our sponsored children and to get to know such a magnificent country and people. All I can say is ‘wehbarri nyo’ – thank you very much in Luganda!” 

The difference you make 

If you have sponsored a child, you are changing the life of a child living in the world’s toughest places. A child who could have been at risk of forced child marriage. A child who might have gone hungry or lacked access to clean water. A child who might have missed out on an education.  

Thank you for your commitment to your child and their community. 

If you want to visit your sponsored child, log in to the portal or email

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