Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

A friendship that crossed borders

My name is Ingrid and I am now 29 years old. About 22 years ago, a magic story started. I say ‘magic’ because I never thought that a person would change my life! My story took place in a rural, poor, indigenous community in Guatemala, I was just 7 years old when my life started changing.

When I turned 7, my mum told me that I had a new friend who lived very far away from my home. I remember the first letter I received. It had some stickers on it and a photo from my sponsor and her two children. She wrote to me about her life, her family, where they live, what they like to eat, how they celebrate holidays like Christmas. That was all new to me and I learned a lot from her.

My sponsor was always really sweet, she taught me how important it was to share with my family, how important it was for me to have an education and to have a career when I grew up.

It was a really good experience, two families knowing each other, even though my sponsor´s family was in another country. But the communication was always constant. The best thing I got from my sponsor is her friendship, and I have kept all her letters and photos in a special place.

If I had my sponsor in front of me, I would like to say, “Thank you so much for sharing your time; thank you for all your support; thank you for your letters and pictures. Thank you, because now I am different and I have a bright future.”

Now I am a teacher, and I have a special commitment to work for my community, especially with girls and youths. I am a technician in the ChildFund Guatemala project ‘I Love Myself, I Take Care of Myself` and work with ChildFund`s local partner organisation. This project specifically works to help youth improve their self-esteem, build healthy relationships with their families, peers and communities and provide guidance on health.

My intention, now that I am working with children, is to teach them how to change their lives and how to have a better life and future. From my own experience, I have confidence in the great potential of the youth in my community.

My plans are to continue working with children. I also want to finish my studies in college to become an environmental engineer and find a place where I can both work with children and contribute to creating a better planet.

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