“I want to grow up to be a Civil Servant and serve my community at a level that I can't do now,” asserts Sudha, a World Vision sponsored child in Delhi, India.
This bubbly 14 year old is already leading change in her community for women and girls. Sudha’s inspiration? Her sponsorship.
Sudha’s parents moved to the bustling city life over 20 years ago to earn a little higher income than they would earn in their village.
Her father, Santhosh, earns just INR 400–500 (US$5.15-6.44) per day at a clothes shop in a marketplace, while her mother, Pinky, is a homemaker.
When Sudha first became a sponsored child, she was only six years old. Her very first activity as a sponsored child was attending a children’s group in her community.
“At the children’s group, I learnt about my rights and I felt involved in something big and important,” Sudha tells us, adding that she turned from being shy to a confident girl in just a few years.
At the very start, Sudha used to think to herself, "What can I achieve alone by myself? What can I achieve being a girl?”
Yet as she kept learning about her rights, she became increasingly confident each passing day. She began speaking openly and expressing her thoughts easily.
I used to feel odd speaking out loud earlier, but not anymore. I learnt this from the Children's Parliament. We learned to share our thoughts on various issues related to children. I had to speak in front of nearly 120 children at the Children’s Parliament and that empowered me.
Sudha’s passion to serve others rose from these sessions. She learnt all the things that she advocates for today.
She learnt about the issues that women and girls face in her community.
“That is when I questioned why these things happened more with girls or women, while boys didn't face them. Girls should also be made aware. When I learnt about our rights and all that we can do, I went and shared it with other girls and women,” she says.
When Anjali, a girl from her community, began working in a factory during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sudha and the Child Protection Unit (CPU) in her community immediately visited Anjali’s home and counselled her parents to stop sending her for work, helping her instead to continue her education.
Soon, Anjali’s parents realised her education was being affected and sent her back to school.
Sudha has been at the forefront of her community, helping women and girls cope with tough situations.
When she noticed a girl suddenly wasn’t playing with her friends and become aloof, Sudha took the CPU members to the girl’s home.
While the girl was initially reluctant to share anything, she eventually opened up and told them that her father was beating her at home.
The CPU members explained to the girl’s father that he shouldn’t be beating a small girl and that he should educate her. The girl’s father realised his mistake and stopped beating her after that.
Sudha shares about her passion, saying, “After I joined children’s group and Child Parliament, I realised that there are so many people out there who need help – not just me.”
Her aim is to empower women and girls with knowledge about their rights, so that they can live empowered lives.
Sponsorship has not only empowered Sudha to be a change-agent in her community, but it has also eased the financial burden in her family.
Education supplies like books, bags and stationery she received from World Vision India helped her continue her studies, because her father didn’t have to spend money on her education.
Sarita, a World Vision volunteer, proudly says of Sudha, “She actively advises people, especially girls and women, about their rights. She also began teaching self-defence techniques to other women and girls in her community after she received the training from World Vision.”
Sudha is leaving no stone unturned as she pushes the boundaries to ensure girls and women in her community are empowered. She’s also working hard to become a civil servant, so that she can go on to do good to more people.
“One piece of advice I would like to give other children is to set a goal and work towards it diligently, no matter what problems they face,” she concludes with a smile.
You can empower a child like Sudha to break the cycle of poverty for good.
For every child you help, 4 more children benefit too.