The Importance of Sponsors

Several children received Easter gifts from their sponsors. One boy, about 12 years old was washing his sandals at the water tank when I walked by. He looked very happy so I asked him if he had something from his sponsor.
“Yes” he beamed.
-Will you buy clothes? I asked
-No, I will visit my grandmother. He said. His full smile stretched even wider.
-Where does she live? I asked. Of course I didn’t know the place he described. Will you use the money to pay for a matatu (mini-bus/taxi)? I continued.
– Yes, and I will bring her sugar. I don’t know how to describe his smile. If it had been bigger it would have hurt.
-My grandmother is a cripple, he added picturing her with love and anticipation.

Often kids buy shoes or clothes when they receive a gift from their sponsor. That’s the only way they have to acquire new things. Otherwise they wear donated clothes, that are also very nice, or they borrow from a friend. A small gift goes a long way. If they receive $25, they can buy jeans and a T-shirt and maybe even a pair of shoes. But the money only represents part of the value of the gift. The simple fact they are receiving a gift is priceless. They love to know that someone cares, that someone is looking out for them. A gift from their sponsor brings them so much joy. Their sponsor is their only source of outside support and they are extremely grateful and cherish that connection with all their little heart.

One girl’s sponsor asked the co-director to buy her a cake on her birthday. I offered to pick it up when I went to town. I bought a pink heart-shaped cake with Happy Birthday written in white for about $1. The co-director invited the girl to her room when there were no other kids around and gave her the cake from her sponsor. The little girl was so happy. She unwrapped the cake and took a bite that filled her cheeks. She kept munching away for a few minutes and then started to slow down. She interrupted the feast for a swig of water at my suggestion and then continued to dig in. When she slowed down again, the co-director asked if she would like to keep the rest till later. The girl conceded and her cake was wrapped up and stored in a safe place with other valuable items. The girl came back several times during the next three days to finish the cake, savoring every bite because every bite was a gift from someone who cared, someone who knew her birthday, her very own, very special sponsor.



One thought on “The Importance of Sponsors

  1. I always remember growing up, seeing the TV commercials for different programs where you can sponsor children from around the world. As a child, I remember adding up the amount of money from the ads and thinking to myself “wow! It’s so expensive!” Boy, I was no naive then.

    I have always wanted to help people around the world, but I had never even given a second thought to the idea of sponsoring a child. I didn’t understand it, I didn’t trust it. Many programs make sure to take their cut, their salary…at the expense of the children. That never seemed right to me.

    When I found IHF, I was instantly attached, and knew I wanted to become a volunteer. I went through the process and was accepted. It wasn’t long before I was reading about the children and programs, getting a chance to meet some of them via skype. To see the pure joy in the children’s eyes when they get to meet someone new, it lit my heart up.

    Very quickly after I started volunteering from home, I decided to sponsor one of the boys from Kenya. So many of the children there have had their families destroyed because of AIDS or violence. I felt like maybe I could be something positive. When I got my first sponsorship letter, I was filled with love and joy. The level of appreciation, and genuine interest about me from my sponsored child was just great. His other 2 sponsors did not renew their sponsorships, so between my parents and I, we now fully sponsor him. Since then, I have come to know a lot about him, and he about me. We have created a pen-pal friendship. For his birthday, my parents and I sent him a small box with some goodies, school supplies, shirts, etc. I received a picture of Kukat holding all the items with pride. In that moment, I know he felt special. Something so simple, but so important for him. I look forward to my opportunity to go meet him.

    Not much longer after I sponsored Kukat from Kenya, I decided to sponsor another child. From Jakarta, Indonesia, I sponsored another absolutely delightful 10 year old boy. Adit, and again, I have come to learn so much about him, his likes, dislikes, etc. Again, I look forward to my opportunity to meet Adit, and send him special gifts for his birthday. Sometimes, a little love and affection can change the world for these children that have lost so much.

    Even if I no longer work for IHF one day… I will continue my sponsorships of these children, and perhaps even more. It has become a 2-way street, I look forward to my letters and pictures every month, as I know they do. A friend of mine said it best when she decided to sponsor one of the beautiful IHF children….
    “Help make a child’s life better, and make them feel special? For the cost of a couple fast food meals? It is a no brainer, there is no reason not to.”

    I hope, if you are reading this, that you seriously consider sponsoring a child from IHF. It will change you as a person, forever, and give you an opportunity to change the life of another person. I will never be able to accurately describe the feelings, so I hope you will take the time, look through the children that need a sponsor, and feel it for yourself.

    Michael Bradley

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