Inspiring girls' education

Updated Jul 19, 2019
5 - Minute Read
My parents were from in a small village in France. Their schooling was cut short because of the war, so they didn’t value education to better their children’s lives. I came to Canada as a 19-year-old, knowing very little English. For two years, I worked as a maid and private cook, earning just $250 a month.
 
Eventually, I went to university, earned a master’s degree and became a teacher. Unlike my parents, I value education, as I believe it opens many doors. Yet I know that, around the world, many girls don’t have the chance to go to school. I vowed a long time ago to try and help girls to get an education. 
 
As soon as I could afford it, I became a sponsor. That was 22 years ago. In that time, I have sponsored three young girls: the first from Mali, the second from the Philippines and the third, Chantsa, from Mongolia.
 
I began sponsoring Chantsa two or three years ago, when she was just six years old. I chose a younger girl, so I could really help support her education from the beginning.
 
Initially, I was skeptical of how my sponsorship would help. I would often wonder, where’s the money really going? This curiosity fueled my decision to go on a trip to Mongolia and meet Chantsa.
 
Child sponsor pose with sponsored child, her parents and sibling in a sunny day.
Meeting Chantsa and her family

 
It was a long journey to reach her. Since her school is 1,000 kilometers outside the capital city, it took our group a day and a half to get there! Chantsa’s parents are herders and live 60 kilometers outside the nearest town. Herders migrate with their animals (horses, yaks, goats, sheep), so she lives with her grandparents while she goes to school. They come back to visit her about four times a year.
 
A father sits on the floor with his two small children, who are sponsored by World Vision Canada donors.One of the herding families that Marie met on her trip. Their children are able to attend school thanks to World Vision’s influence
 
I saw many other inspirational women on my trip. I visited a women’s sewing group in a nearby town. They were deeply grateful that World Vision provided them with essentials, like industrial sewing machines, to help start their business.
 
Child sponsor shakes hand with a woman outside a local building. Her sponsored child stands next to her.
Marie meeting the principal of Chantsa’s school

 
One bakery that captured my heart was employed solely with single mothers and sponsored by World Vision.
 
I also saw a children’s music programs in action, a new, safer playground and better plumbing systems, to replace the outhouses in local schools. I met many World Vision staff, and was even told there are around 300 staff in Mongolia serving 45,000 children.
 
I realized very quickly, that my money doesn’t just go toward Chantsa, it goes to her community as well.
 
A group of young people play traditional musical instruments from Mongolia inside a classroom.
The music program at one of the schools in Mongolia

 
Unless you see it with your own eyes, you can only sort of read about it and imagine, but it’s not the same.
 
All around the world, there are millions of children in need of support. I was thrilled to know that my monthly contribution of 40 dollars helps quite a bit.
 
All the people I met during my visit were very grateful to World Vision for all the help they receive. I now know that any contribution I make transforms lives.
 
I’m hoping to go back and see Chantsa again. As a teacher, I would have loved to visit her school, perhaps sit in on an English class.
 
A drawing made by a World Vision Canada sponsored child.
 
As I was leaving, she gave me a drawing of me coming in the car and meeting her and her family. She wrote, “Thank you for coming to visit me!”
 
I hope Chantsa continues in her studies - I want her to have more opportunities in her life, and that starts with an education.

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