By Elissa Webster.
John Mayer might be happy waiting on the world to change, but some of us want to see it happen faster. To see poverty ended, inequitable systems fixed, climate change tackled. To see every child going to school, having a full belly, getting medical care when they are sick, living a full and free life and dreaming big dreams.
Five minutes of scrolling through the news can make those goals feel far off. The world has some big challenges. Lots of them. It’s easy to become discouraged or feel like it’s impossible to make a real difference.
But it’s not. One child, one community at a time, that’s exactly what child sponsors are doing today.
Take Honduras for example. It’s a country about the size of the state of New York, home to about nine million people. About half of those people were born into poverty. But together, day-by-day, year-by-year, generation-by-generation, children and their communities are changing their story.
Here are 8 people who are living proof of the multiplying effects investing in the life of one child through sponsorship really has.
One girl = a community of kids staying in school
Nahomy is 13 and the youth mayor of Yamaranguila in southwestern Honduras. She is using what she has learned through child sponsorship about leadership, child rights, the importance of education, the costs of teen pregnancy and early marriage to mobilise other kids and her community to fight school drop-outs.
One woman = a collective of women entrepreneurs
Anna lives just an hour down the road from Nahomy’s hometown. Back in 2009, Anna was a sponsored child in a World Vision youth group, learning about the power of saving money. Now she is 26 and the president of the InLe Café Young Women’s Group, the proud owners of a popular coffee shop in Gracias. Business is booming – they’ve just opened two new franchises in nearby La Esperanza and Yamaraguila, too.
One Vice-Mayor = a community beating teen pregnancy
Lesly knows what it’s like to live without enough; she experienced it firsthand as a child. That’s why, as the Vice-Mayor in La Campa – a community half an hour away from Anna’s cafe – she is determined to use the opportunities that being sponsored as a child gave her to turn things around for people in her community. Now the municipality and World Vision are working together with schools, churches, health clinics and community volunteers to target teen pregnancy – and last year, they saw a 50% reduction.
One father = a family of eight back on track
Nine years ago, Francisco was an alcoholic and used any money his family came by to buy more to drink, not to look after his six children. Today, Francisco and his wife, who live near Nahomy in Yamaranguila, volunteer with World Vision to pass forward the relationship advice, tools and support that helped them get back on track, tackling domestic violence, substance abuse and other family issues.
One boy = a lifetime of potential
Evelio lives in Intibucá, just a short drive away from Yamaranguila, with his four siblings and his mum Maria. Maria works hard just to put food on the table, and although Evelio has always been bright, she couldn’t afford to send him to school on her own. With the help of his sponsor, Maria was able to buy Evelio the uniform, shoes, backpack and stationery he needed to start school – and now he is working hard to make his education count.
Vladimir + Ester
Two siblings = a family secure and thriving
Seven-year-old Vladimir and his four-year-old sister Ester also live in Intibucá. They used to dread the rain – it would flood the house where they lived with their grandmother Leonor, and the beds would be wet. “After my grandchildren were chosen to be sponsored, my life changed,” says Leonor. Through sponsorship, the family were given a new house. It’s safe and dry, and now Vladimir and Ester can focus on just being kids.
One girl = a healthy community
For as long as she can remember, 13-year-old Reina and her sister Selene had to walk from their home on the edge of town in Intibucá to the well to collect water for their families, up to 10 times a day. Since the child sponsorship program helped bring water to their community, Reina, her family, and their whole community can spend their time working, learning and playing, not collecting water or getting sick from it.
One man = a community fighting poverty with education
Back in Yamaranguila, Jose is the mayor. He’s committed to seeing education break the cycle of poverty in his community because child sponsorship gave him the chance to go to school and put his life on a completely different path. “Because of sponsorship, I had access to a better education and programs that helped me define who I wanted to be. It’s one of the reasons why serving others is part of my life."
“Education is the only way to fight poverty, and it’s the only way to ensure rational use of resources and create a good life.”
One life at a time, this corner of Honduras is being transformed. With the support of child sponsors, children like Nahomy, Jose, Anna and Evelio are growing up to change their lives and their communities.
Every day, all over the world, child sponsors are making this sort of difference: for every child sponsored, our research shows that four more benefit. This is what child sponsorship looks like - children and communities being supported for the long term in the ways they and their communities need, so that over time everyone thrives.
With child sponsorship, one plus one equals far more than two – and that’s how we make the world change.
Will you join us? Sponsor a child today