“I understand that if it’s a choice between education or food, you’ll take the food – that makes sense,” Alison says. “If the choice is either you put everybody to work or you go hungry, of course you have to choose food because there’s no point having an education if you die of starvation. That’s where agencies like ChildFund play a critical role; families don’t have to make that choice and they can have both food and education for their children.”
A life-long dedication to education
Alison comes from a family of teachers; two of her sisters, and her cousins and aunts are also teachers.
“Although I put my hand up for the challenge of being a principal, I love teaching,” she says. “The best days I have are the days I have with children.”
As one of seven children, Alison has fond memories of her childhood growing up in Young, which has a population of about 7,000. Her father was a dairy farmer and her mother was a nurse, and they both worked around the clock for their children.
“I’m very grateful for growing up in a large family,” Alison says. “It was very busy growing up. We marvel at both our parents. We do sort of marvel at Mum that she raised seven children. We always had lovely meals. Mum probably survived 20 odd years on about four to five hours of sleep. She certainly knew about hard work. Dad as well.”
Growing up in a rural community where her family relied on farming and agriculture for income, and now working and living in that same community, Alison understands the challenges that many farming families living in developing countries may face.
She hopes the children she sponsors can finish their education and make a difference in their communities.
“I want them to have food, clean water, and be safe where they live,” Alison says. “The big goal would be for them to finish their education and whether they use that education in their rural setting to help improve things like farming techniques and irrigation systems, and improve the opportunities for their own children coming through, that would be great.
“If they were able to pursue further education to become teachers, doctors, nurses or work in local government, and improve the lives of people in their family and within their community that would be wonderful.”
Why child sponsorship is important
Alison says an ongoing financial contribution, such as sponsoring a child, helps a child finish their education and helps their community to become sustainable.
“I would recommend child sponsorship to friends and family,” she says. “The financial commitment that is ongoing allows agencies like ChildFund to make the big decisions because they know what their expected income will be. There is a need for a financial commitment, so more infrastructure and the bigger projects can be established. For example, trying to establish a clean water supply – that sort of thing can take time and money to maintain.
“I don’t have the financial or physical capacity to take the financial burdens away from all the children in the world, but I can make a difference for my sponsored children.
“You can make a world of difference to a child and their family.”