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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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How Australian sponsors helped a child reach his full potential

After more than two decades since leaving ChildFund’s sponsorship program, Samuel says his former Australian sponsors helped him understand the importance of family and become resilient to the many challenges he faced in his life. They also inspired him to achieve his goals.

Samuel, now aged 40, says he looked up to his former sponsors Perry and Elaine, who live in Queensland, as a child.

“They are my role models in family life,” Samuel says. “From their positive relationship, I did well academically, and felt cared for, valued and respected. I have more self-esteem and confidence, and feel more relaxed in facing the lows and highs.

“They shared their awesome photos of their wedding, house, and family van, and some family photos with me when I was a sponsored child. These pictures, and the letters they wrote, showed me the value of family and work.

“They inspired me.”

This is the powerful impact sponsorship can have on the life of a child, in the words of a sponsored child himself.

Growing up in Uganda

The second youngest of four children, Samuel grew up in a small, disadvantaged village in Uganda. Samuel’s mother raised him and his three sisters on her own, working as a pre-school teacher for a living. Occasionally his mother sold baked goods and took on food catering jobs for extra income.

She worked hard to make sure her children were well fed. “She prepared the best meals for us, including porridge,” Samuel says. Meals often included sweet potato, millet bread, beans and groundnut stew.  

“We never had much, apart from the constant promises of a better tomorrow from her if we worked hard,” Samuel says of his mother.

Samuel, pictured with his family, says his former sponsors Perry and Elaine inspired him. “They are my role models in family life. From their positive relationship, I did well academically, and felt cared for, valued and respected.”

The educational resources he received from ChildFund as a sponsored child gave him an “exceptional” feeling about life, he says. “Through the sponsorship program, I was able to have the scholastic materials for my studies.”

Reconnecting with his sponsors

When Samuel reconnected with Perry and Elaine online in early 2018, there were mutual feelings of excitement. Samuel left ChildFund’s sponsorship program and wrote his last letter to Perry and Elaine when he was 18 years old.

Over the past 22 years, his life has changed “tremendously”, he says. After finishing high school, Samuel went on to study at university, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences. In 2005 he reconnected with ChildFund, volunteering his time to give back and help deliver projects in disadvantaged communities in Uganda.

“My volunteer work with ChildFund increased my confidence, provided me with a sense of purpose and above all, advanced my career as a social scientist,” Samuel says. “I learnt valuable job skills like teamwork, task management, problem solving and hands-on project planning.”

Today, Samuel (pictured above with his family) lives in the same community in Uganda that he grew up in, but he has his own family and runs a consulting company specialising in safety, health and emergency systems.

“My life has transformed tremendously,” he says. It is partly because of Perry and Elaine’s love and support as sponsors during his childhood that he was able to achieve many of the things he now has in his life.

“Their love for children has changed lives, families and even communities,” Samuel says. “I am a testimony. They, together with other like-minded Australians, have unlocked the potential of children.”

Sponsorship, he says, not only helps provide for the basic needs of a child, it benefits the whole community. And sponsors also provide much-needed emotional support to vulnerable children through ongoing correspondence.

“I have also seen how sponsorship has inspired development in communities by initiating and supporting income-generating activities for families,” Samuel says.

Sponsorship is love. Your giving fights poverty, disease, and hunger, one village at a time.”

 

Become a child sponsor today 

When you sponsor a child, you don’t just change one life, but transform an entire community. You provide hope for the future, empowering a child to reach their full potential, something they may not be able to achieve without your support.  It is a meaningful way to change the world, one child at a time. 

Learn more about child sponsorship or take the first step towards change and sponsor a child today. 

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