Joseph Elieza in Tanzania.
A former sponsored child from Tanzania shares how his future turned bright thanks to sponsorship
When I was seven, I didn’t see a bright future. My mother struggled to feed my siblings and me. She couldn’t even give us the simple pleasure of clean and safe water unless she walked many kilometres for six hours every day. When a drought would come, we had no way of getting enough food and our health was at risk. We just couldn’t get ahead enough to help ourselves. And though I was able to go to primary school, fees for further education weren’t guaranteed. My mother wanted to change our destiny.
Then one day, a Canadian man came into my life, becoming my sponsor and bringing my family and me hope. His decision to sponsor me was by the grace of God. He did not know me before or know any of my family members. It’s only God who connected us. Everything went smoothly and my outlook turned bright.
Joseph at his desk at a World Vision office in Tanzania.
Six months after being sponsored, I received my first letter from my sponsor. He told me about his family and how he was committed to having me and other children in my community attain well-being.
My sponsor and other sponsors helped my family and community to learn and practise modern farming techniques. My community received seeds that increased our harvest, which helped to improve the nutrition of children, me included.
Boreholes and shallow wells were now in our villages. Clean and safe water was available, and I was able to help my mother fetch water from a short distance and still have time to do my homework. Out of my sponsor’s contribution, school uniforms and other school supplies were available, and having them helped me perform my studies smoothly. This motivated me to do better. My primary school received dairy cattle that, after a year, were able to produce milk once a day. This also motivated me a lot in my school attendance. In fact, all of these things were at my reach because of Canadian sponsors’ support.
In my letters, I promised my sponsor that I would make sure I attained a university education. That promise became my education journey. In 1998, I completed my Grade 7 primary education, and in 1999, I attended secondary school, where I earned my secondary ordinary and secondary high-level education.
I was also praying to God that one day I would serve the needy children and poor community the way the World Vision staff served my community. I got the opportunity to join World Vision as a customer service representative in the same community where I was sponsored, Mpunguzi. That was in 2005, when I had completed my secondary education.
Joseph meets with community members in Tanzania.
I worked for two years. Then in 2007, I decided to seek university education at the Sokoine University of Agriculture. I was pursuing a bachelor degree in rural development. This was also one of the happiest moments in my life: First, I was fulfilling my promise to my sponsor, whom I was no longer in touch with anymore. Though, spiritually, I believed we were together. Second, the program I went for was preparing me to serve the poor in rural areas in a wider scope—that has always been a wish in my life.
In November 2010, I graduated with my bachelor degree. The following February, I joined World Vision again as a sponsorship and development facilitator at a community supported by sponsors in Ireland. I served in that position for seven months before joining the sponsorship department as a cluster sponsorship officer. I now serve three communities. We have more than 8,000 children registered for sponsorship. I oversee all sponsorship programming and work toward bringing brighter futures and helping children enjoy good health and a good education.
Sponsorship changes the lives of children, families and communities. There are many who need someone like my sponsor to give them an opportunity for a better life. You could be that person giving hope for a bright future.
A version of this article appears in the Summer 2015 issue of Childview Plus.