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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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Sponsor’s commitment to education for children in Australia and overseas

Long-time Australian sponsor Alison Pippard knows a thing or two about the importance of education for vulnerable children in rural communities.

The Australian mother of two has been a teacher for 36 years – mostly in rural settings, including at a school for children from low-socioeconomic backgrounds. She is currently a teaching principal at a small school in Young, a rural town south west of Sydney where she grew up.

Education gives children the skills and tools to change their lives

Education, says Alison, is “absolutely critical” for children, especially children from disadvantaged backgrounds, because it can give them the skills and tools to change their lives.

“By educating children they have a greater capacity to ask questions, to think about their choices, and to make informed decisions,” Alison says.

“If children are educated and they’re literate and numerate in their own language it creates more opportunities for them.

“We want children to be informed, we want them to be educated so not only can they get jobs where they can earn more money and make their lives more sustainable, but also to be able to make good choices that are going to help themselves, their families and their countries.”

Because of child sponsorship, families don’t have to choose between food and education

Alison has been sponsoring children through ChildFund for 27 years, since 1993. She currently supports five children, whom she corresponds with through ChildFund’s sponsorship program. She says organisations like ChildFund are important to helping ensure children in developing communities have access to an education and can finish school.

Long-time ChildFund supporter and teaching principal Alison (bottom right), pictured with her family, says education gives children in disadvantaged communities greater opportunities to change their lives.

“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 child sponsor with 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.”

If you would like to change a life, a family and a community forever just like Alison, sponsor a child today

Your sponsorship will help a child reach their full potential by giving them access to quality education, food and clean water, life-saving healthcare and the confidence and resilience needed to continue the cycle of change in their communities.

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