Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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I met my sponsored child – here’s what happened

They trekked with gorillas, saw wild lions and experienced Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, but few experiences from Dennise and Peter Rossetti’s trip around Africa were as memorable as their visit to a small village in Zambia.

There, the Aussie couple from Victoria met the family of Ericah, who has been a part of their lives since they decided to sponsor a child in Africa a decade ago.

“We have supported Ericah for almost 10 years and seen her grow into a beautiful young woman and the opportunity to visit her was overwhelming,” says Dennise.

The couple and their children had been exchanging letters with Ericah since she was a child, and in Zambia they saw firsthand the impact they have made.

Dennise and Peter spent more than two hours catching up with Ericah – meeting family members and neighbours who have benefitted from their monthly donations.

As the future of children is ultimately linked to the situation in their community, ChildFund Australia sponsorship contributions are pooled with funds from other sponsors to help meet the individual and group needs of all children in the program and to benefit the entire community.

Active community participation and empowerment is encouraged within ChildFund project areas. Although children are at the centre of the locally developed initiatives, the emphasis is on encouraging self-help by providing families and communities with the means to reshape their future.

“The dedication of everyone to provide the communities with meaningful support was evident and we came away knowing that our money was not just assisting Ericah but other members of her community.”

Peter and Dennise’s trip to Africa included stops at Kruger National Park in South Africa, the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and gorilla trekking in Rwanda. She said sponsoring a child in Africa, gave the trip more meaning.

The couple visited many African communities throughout their trip, but Zambia was the biggest standout by far.

“Our visit to meet Ericah was more than we could have ever imagined,” she says.

“We’ve been with ChildFund for almost 25 years as we’ve always wanted to provide other children with the opportunities that we’ve given our own. It was so wonderful to hear about Ericah’s dream of becoming a nurse and be able to support and encourage her face-to-face.”

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