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Danielle Cormack meets her sponsored child in Uganda

Actress and ChildFund Ambassador Danielle Cormack has had her fair share of nerves especially on an opening night of a play or a movie premiere. But as she drove through the small villages of remote Uganda on a recent trip she was struck by an unexpected jolt of nerves.

“It was mixture of anxiety, excitement and anticipation,” she says.

For the last 13 years, Danielle waited for this moment, the first face-to-face meeting with her sponsored child Akullu.

As Danielle’s vehicle made the final turn towards Akullu’s tiny village, she spotted a jubilant group of women waving branches and cheering. At the front of the pack was the 18-year-old Danielle travelled across the world to see.

“I had dreamed of meeting her for 13 years,  and finally there she was standing in front of me,” Danielle says.

“I’ve seen her grow up through her letters. When I first started sponsoring Akullu, her grandfather was corresponding with me on her behalf as Akullu was only a little girl. Now she’s grown into this incredible young woman.”

Akullu was just five years old when Danielle started sponsoring her. Girls like Akullu in regional parts of Uganda face serious hurdles, including a lack of access to education, healthcare and nutritious food.

“I had dreamed of meeting her for 13 years,  and finally there she was standing in front of me.”

Danielle’s sponsorship has helped improve Akullu’s life and supported investments that will benefit her community for years to come. Akullu’s extended family and other people from her village gathered around to meet Danielle and thank her for her support.

“I really didn’t expect to meet so many of her family, it was wonderful!” Danielle says.

In the small home where Akullu was raised by her grandparents, the pair bonded over stacks of letters from Danielle, which Akullu had been collecting through the years.

“It was such a thrill that she had kept them” Danielle said. “Reading the letters was like looking through an old diary from different times in my life.

“It was incredibly moving to see how much our connection means to her because I know how important our relationship is to me. Sponsorship is definitely not a one-way street.”

Danielle has been a passionate ambassador for ChildFund and has visited projects in Cambodia, Kenya and Vietnam. She counts those trips as some of the most rewarding in her life but nothing can top her first meeting with Akullu.

“The friendship I’ve developed with my sponsored child is completely unique,” Danielle says. “She’s been part of my life for many years now and over that time has shared with me the positive impact of sponsorship not only on her life,  but for everyone around her.  Meeting Akullu and her family is a moment I will never forget.”

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