14-year-old Margarita at her home in the Yerevan community in Armenia, is a shining example of how child sponsorship helps create something beautiful.
If a child can imagine a better world, she can create it. But first, she needs to know that it’s possible. Margarita saw a better world for herself and her family. Child sponsorship
is helping her turn it into reality.
Margarita ushers us into her family’s dining room. We just finished talking about her time as a sponsored child and her plans for the future. On the table is a beautiful spread of baked goods and fruit, evidence that the 14 year old completed catering training offered by World Vision, which helps youth in the Armenian community of Yerevan
, get part-time work. Margarita’s mother, Armine, and grandmother, Narina, welcome us to take a seat and have a cup of coffee and some snacks.
Nobody here needs caffeine, though -- we’re all still energized by Margarita’s account of success. She’s a youth leader and a mentor. Moreover, she’s recently started management classes with a plan to go to university for economics.
“I’m very proud of Margarita,” Armine says. “I believe she will have a great future.”
From left: Margarita, her grandmother Narina, her mother Armine, and her brother Marat outside their home.
Margarita lives with her grandmother, mother, brother and older sister in a modest home in an urban community. Her father works in Russia, but keeps in touch with the family. Now, Margarita is passing on the blessings she’s received. She shares some of her accomplishments:
- She is most proud of completing the sponsorship workshops. What sticks with her are the lessons about children’s rights. “It’s a right to have a voice in your family, a right to play, a right to have an education, a right to live.”
- Margarita has chosen to teach what she has learned to fourth and fifth graders. “I want children to know their rights,” she tells me. “They are so keen and they ask questions. I like the feeling that I left them with knowledge.”
- Margarita has a genius teaching philosophy. “When teaching,” she says, “the most important thing is to listen to the child and let him know you value his opinion. This will encourage him to learn.”
- In Grade 9, Margarita was the head of her school’s student council. The council advocated for activity classes, organized an arts and crafts fair and used proceeds from the fair to buy school materials.
- Margarita is the leader of a youth advocacy group. The group has taken on issues ranging from child protection to HIV and AIDS awareness. (The day after we met with Margarita, her group held a demonstration commemorating the International Day of Disabled Children.)
Margarita (in wheelchair) during a demonstration commemorating the International Day of Disabled Children.
Margarita’s mother tells us about her daughter’s time as a sponsored child. “She acquired new skills. She became a different person. She became organized,” Armine says. “I’m very happy that at her age she knows so much and is able to teach others on [children’s] rights.”
Margarita and her brother Marat, who received the surgery he needed thanks the support of World Vision sponsors.
Once it’s quiet, we know we have to ask about something unpleasant Margarita had mentioned earlier. She had told us that a year ago her little brother Marat, who is a sponsored child, had a hernia that required surgery. The family knew they couldn’t afford his surgery. Armine was scared, but she turned to World Vision staff to see if the organization could help. And World Vision did, arranging for Marat’s surgery.
Marat tells us that his hernia had caused pain in his side, but after a month-long recovery from surgery, he is pain-free and back in gym class.
We ask Marat if he has a message for his sponsor that we could pass on. “I want to thank my sponsor,” Marat says. “And I wish him a green path,” which is a way of saying good luck in Armenia.
Before we say goodbye, Margarita asks us to join her in the kitchen. She grabs a red apple and a knife and says she wants to show us how a fruit becomes a flower. With the patience and skill of a cooking show host, Margarita carves the apple. In minutes, Margarita makes her last cut, and presents us with a rose. Created just as she had imagined. Beautiful.
Margarita makes her first cut.
The artist at work.
Margarita’s stunning apple “rose.”