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.