Avril is a successful primary school teacher based in Wheelers Hills, Victoria. She has a wonderful family, a comfortable home and assets to help her and her husband enjoy a good lifestyle, but life could have turned out very differently for Avril who grew up in a very poor family in Bangalore, India.
Avril's father died when she was just eight years old, and as one of eight children, food, medical supplies and money for even simple daily items were often in short supply.
However, Avril was fortunate enough to be part of a community that worked with ChildFund Australia's affiliate organisation in India, which in partnership with community members, delivered development programs to benefit all children in the area. Avril herself, along with two of her brothers and one of her sisters, were sponsored by two American families.
"They wrote to me and sent me, my sister and brothers money for our birthdays and wrote to us often," says Avril. "Looking back at my sponsorship, I am deeply indebted to ChildFund for my sponsorship. The money we were sent by our sponsors was used to purchase clothing, shoes and things we would never have been able to afford. The sponsorship meant so much to me and I cherish those memories."
Avril attended a boarding school for children who had lost a parent, where she received three meals a day and had regular access to medical professionals. Thanks to these opportunities, Avril went on to do well in her studies and later became a primary school teacher. "Many children were sponsored at the school I studied in and the school I worked at later on," says Avril.
Today, Avril is appreciative of the opportunities she received as a child thanks to ChildFund in India. She also talks fondly about her sponsor family and what she would do if she were to meet them now.
"I would just hug them and invite them to come to Australia to meet my immediate family and get in touch with the sister and brothers they sponsored," says Avril.
Recognising the benefits from a first-hand perspective, Avril now sponsors a seven-year-old girl in India. "I want to give back as much and even more than I received," says Avril. "I would hope that my sponsored child takes away happy memories of our connection through Childfund and be able to grow up into a valued citizen of India, and in turn start a domino reaction to help other less fortunate children in years to come."