After sponsoring children for over twenty years, Graeme Newton, who heads up the Fundraising department at World Vision, thought it was high time he took the opportunity to go and visit one of these children. Below he shares some of his favourite moments from his trip to India.
I’ve been very fortunate to visit World Vision projects in some fascinating places during my time including Cambodia, Laos, Sierra Leone and the Eastern DRC. In each of these places I’ve been struck by the beauty of the people, their country and the simplicity of their life.
I’ve always wanted to visit India and attending a World Vision conference gave me the perfect opportunity to do this and to meet one of our sponsored children.
We have sponsored Annu for 4 years and she is the same age as my youngest daughter Flora.
We’ve had her photo on our wall and received updates from her and her community so I felt I was meeting a long lost friend.
As I arrived to meet Annu I was surrounded by a mass of excited children, eager to shake my hand and welcome me to their community. This wasn’t a show, it was heartfelt hospitality and it was a joy to be welcomed into it. I don’t think she was quite so excited… she looked terrified!
After a few introductions and games she warmed up. Children are so similar, no matter where they come from and what their background is.
I was struck by how much pressure we put on ourselves to host people in our homes. Annu’s family and community didn’t seem to experience any of this… they welcomed me into their basic home, shared a meal and made me feel special. Their gratitude for our sponsorship was evident.
Annu enjoyed the small gifts I brought for her and I was overwhelmed by the hospitality from her family.
Children are easy to read… if they are not interested they’ll tell you so or at least show you so. These children, Annu’s friends and family, were genuine – warm, welcoming and full of fun, grabbing any chance to laugh and joke… and have their photo taken!
Later that day I visited another World Vision project in a neighbouring slum. It was hot, vibrant and jam-packed with people. I was shown around this labyrinth of paths packed full of make shift shelters by World Vision. As we went we kept bumping into children…
Each time we met a child, our staff introduced me to the them, telling me all about their family and the specific ways that World Vision was helping.
After meeting many of these children, it dawned on me the difference in the way we work. Yes, we are working with millions of children around the world, but our staff and volunteers live in these communities and know these children by name, know their story and help them based on their specific needs.
World Vision continue to work in Annu’s community which gives me confidence that she has a bright future ahead of her. But as I finished this day I was most encouraged to know that the local staff and volunteers will deliver this plan with love and genuine care for Annu, her family and her broader community. I’m privileged to be a small part of this process and would really encourage you to visit one day.