Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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We noticed you were looking to sponsor a community. Your support will not only change the life of a child, but an entire community.

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Last time you were here, you were looking to help vulnerable children and families. Your support can save and change lives.

When Australian couple Elaine and Perry reconnected with their first sponsored child after more than two decades, Elaine teared up learning that her support and advice over the years had changed the course of a life.

“I sat there and read all the sponsor letters and had a tear in my eye and thought, he’s listened to everything I’ve said,” Elaine says.

“Samuel always says to me, you taught me how important it is to learn.

“I don’t think he’s changed. He was really determined when he was young.”

It had been more than 22 years since Queenslanders Perry and Elaine had heard from their first sponsored child Samuel, who lived in a disadvantaged community in Uganda. The last time was when Samuel was a teenager.

When Samuel contacted them online, he had become a man, had his own family and owned his own business. At first Perry and Elaine did not recognise his pictures online, but then the trio shared old photos they had sent one other during the sponsorship program.

“Samuel sent me a photo of our wedding and all these photos of my kids that I sent him over the years,” Elaine says.  “He has a photo on his wall of Perry and I when we got married. I said to Perry, ‘our own kids don’t even have a picture of us on their wall!’”

A transformed life

Elaine and Perry have always known that their sponsorship through ChildFund can help change a child’s life, but it was only when Samuel reached out to them that they realised their extent of their impact.

Russell and his wife Ursula had been to Vietnam before but in late 2019 they made a special trip to the country, which led them to helping a school in a remote village.

The couple from Victoria were visiting their sponsored child, 10-year-old Yen, for the first time. They had been sponsoring Yen for six years and had regularly written letters to her through ChildFund’s sponsorship program, but wanted to meet Yen and see for themselves what her life was like.

“We had always planned to visit her because it makes it more real,” Russell says.

“It was very exciting to meet Yen. It was a very nice experience. Her parents were delightful and Yen was delightful – a little shy at first, but after a little while she opened up.”

Russell and Ursula met Yen and her family at Yen’s school, where they were taken aback by the number of students.

“I was a bit surprised that the school had so many children – there were about 500 children – in such a remote place,” Russell says. “It was a big school for a place that was so remote.”

The school was in “good nick”, but Russell and Ursula noticed that the computer room was lacking in resources. “I think they had six or seven computers for a class in the entire school,” Russell says. “Given the children’s economic circumstances, I imagined they wouldn’t have computers at home.”

After returning home to Australia, the couple decided to donate eight computers to Yen’s school.