How transforming a child’s life alters life in the community, too

Feb 21, 2024

What is International Development and what does it mean to us, as Canadians? Simply put, International Development is the initiative to collaborate to learn, share ideas, and create transformation for brighter, fairer communities around the globe.

It highlights the contributions we as Canadians make to eliminate poverty and build a more peaceful and prosperous world.

Child sponsorship plays an important role in these contributions, for children and communities. Discover how in these short stories from four regions around the world.

Inspiring change in her community

Teenage girl wearing a pink sweater stands with her arms crossed, looking to the left.
"My dream is to become a doctor, to treat the villagers in my community when they're sick," Nita states.

Nita is a sponsored child living in Cambodia. She is one of the top students in her class and an excellent example of how sponsorship creates a hopeful path for children and their communities.

"World Vision launched several initiatives in our community, including hygiene and clean water programs, school construction, reading camps, libraries, and school supplies for vulnerable children" Nita explains.

With the help of sponsors like hers, the health of Nita’s community has improved. There has been a significant reduction in illness among villagers and a decrease in violence against children because of World Vision’s training campaigns.

With the skills and knowledge she obtained from World Vision’s instructional classes, Nita will be able to give back to her family and her community long-term. She aspires to be a doctor so she can provide healthcare to those in her community.

Her hope is to one day meet her sponsor, so she can express her gratitude for the life-changing effect sponsorship has had on her life. "If I ever meet my sponsor, I wouldn't hesitate to thank them abundantly for their role in my life and tell them I adore them," she says.

World Vision staff in Cambodia recognize how critical the sponsorship role plays in the community, helping children envision, pursue, and eventually attain a better future. Sora is a Community Development Facilitator who delivers sponsorship letters to children in the community, like Nita. “I’m grateful for the sponsors for funding the community because their support has made a huge impact on children’s lives,” says Sora. “They are inspired to set goals and aspirations for the future.”

The friend that changed his life

Young boy wearing a white t-shirt smiles while he picks grapes.
“We’re all much happier now," Rasim says. “Our friend has helped us tremendously and for the first time, we have a normal home.”

Rasim’s family moved from one part of Albania to another and in the beginning, things were difficult. His parents invested their money in building a house. It was small, cold, and damp.

Unfortunately, due to a disability, Rasim’s father was unable to work. This left his mother, Seliona, looking for work to make ends meet. Despite her attempts, she didn’t have much luck. It wasn’t just because Seliona lacked certain skills, but also because she still had 6 children to care for.

But things quickly changed once Rasim and his siblings became involved in the World Vision programmes in Albania. “Since that day, things have changed for the better for our family,” Seliona says.

Rasim became a sponsored child when he was just 3 years old. “I will never forget that day. I was in kindergarten and a very special friend entered my life. My friend has helped me and my family,” Rasim states.

“We’ve been supported with food, appliances, children’s toys. The best thing to happen to us was the new house. Now my children have a safe space to live,” Seliona says.

This experience has been life changing for Rasim, his siblings, and his parents. His self-esteem and professional abilities have grown and he’s integrating well in his community.

“I want to continue being a sponsored child. I want to continue school and to become independent in life,” ­ Rasim closes.

Resolving water and agricultural challenges in Ethiopia

Young woman wearing a green shirt shows off mangos growing on a mango tree.
“Food is abundantly available at our home now. We have enough of all our basic needs.” Aster says.

Before World Vision, the status of Aster’s village in Ethiopia was poor. Children were exposed to waterborne diseases and malnutrition. Access to clean water was very low and most people were getting their water from unprotected sources.

Children were responsible for fetching water, which meant they were often late for school and left exposed to dangerous situations on the way to the water sources. To ease these challenges, World Vision drilled several clean water sources to help the community. Women and children no longer had to walk long distances, and people are not suffering from waterborne diseases like before.

The community also faced agricultural challenges. To most, vegetable and fruit production was uncommon and because of this, the community was exposed to food insecurity. When World Vision constructed irrigation schemes within the community, villagers were able to produce three times a year.

“I had no idea about fruit and vegetable farming. I used to buy fruits and vegetables, rarely, for my children,” community member, Geneme says. “World Vision has trained me and my community on vegetable and fruit farming and provided us with improved seeds. I am farming fruits and vegetables. I sell part of the product and earn money. Now, I can feed my children and my children are healthy and strong. The sponsorship programme has transformed our community.”

Crystalizing goals to help development in the community

A girl stands in front of a doorway holding a framed photo of her sponsor.
"I want my school to have a bachelor's degree focused on agriculture, and I am fighting to make it happen," Evelyn says.

Evelyn is a sponsored child, social activist, and speaker living in Honduras. Her sponsor, “has become like a sister,” she explains. "When the disasters happened last year, I received their help at the time I needed it most, and I am only grateful.”

Sponsorship has contributed to shaping the person Evelyn has become. With her kind and big heart, she is always seeking justice and greater well-being for people in her community. She is a spokesperson for change in her village. There was a time when a family she knew was going through a rough patch. The children lost both parents, were mistreated, did not have an education, and experienced food scarcity. But with the support of Evelyn and her family, they were able to have their basic needs met, like receiving food kits.

As the winner of speech contests, inter-school projects, and becoming an exemplary young woman in her community, Evelyn knows that this is just the beginning for her. Her social transformation efforts have greatly impacted the children in her community. "I know I can reach out to many young people,” she says.

As you can see, sponsorship truly creates transformation for fairer communities around the world. It encourages children to set goals and dreams and reach for the sky! Imagine having your own personal cheering section on the other side of the globe? It’s clear that children dream big when they have a solid support system behind them.

And remember, when one child benefits, four more do, too. As a sponsor, you’re throwing the stone that creates a ripple in an ocean of a community in need. And really, how powerful is that?