For the Hoskins family, a recent holiday to Vietnam was made all the more special by visiting their sponsored child, Hue. The Hoskins’ daughters, Jenny, 11, and Ali, 15, have been sponsoring 11-year-old Hue for the past five years.
“The sponsorship is in their names and it’s paid for by what would be their pocket money, so it gives them a bit of ownership and responsibility,” explains their dad, Dave.
Jenny adds: “We have been writing to her and we wanted to see how differently she lived from us.”
With the assistance of the sponsor relations team in Sydney, the Hoskins arranged to visit Hue as part of their two-week trip to Vietnam. The family were picked up from Hanoi by their guide Phuong, from the ChildFund Vietnam office, and driven about three hours’ north to Hue’s village in Bac Kan province.
The next morning, they visited Hue at her school and were given a huge welcome by around 70 children! For the next few hours they spent time with Hue, her family and the children, singing, chatting and exchanging gifts.
Ali says she loved meeting Hue’s friends and couldn’t believe “the amazing generosity of her family and the community even though they had very little money”.
Afterwards, the family was taken on a tour of some of the ChildFund projects in the area. They were surprised to learn that their sponsorship money had helped provide clean-water wells, toilets, an early childhood centre, a school playground, livestock and irrigation.
“I didn’t know a lot about what was done with the money,” admits Dave. “I understand now it is aimed not so much at the individual child but at the whole community. We were really impressed with what we saw over there. So many kids had ChildFund pencil cases and ChildFund jackets on and that sort of thing. It is pretty impressive that the whole village is being looked after.”
As for what their daughters got out of it? “I think it opened their eyes to the way other people live. And they fell in love with Hue – they had a little sister.”
The Hoskins say they would definitely recommend the trip to other sponsors. “Absolutely,” says Dave. “I think you are only realising half the value of the sponsorship if you don’t make the trip – you send your money off each month and you get a picture and a few postcards and that’s wonderful, but until you get there and see how much it is appreciated and what the money is doing, you don’t realise what you are helping to achieve.”
In fact, the Hoskins were so impressed with what they saw, they have since taken up another sponsored child, Pratima from India, who they also look forward to meeting in the future!