Ordinary People. Extraordinary Impact.

This year, we have all seen how a tiny virus has halted the entire world, and we have also stood together against it as ordinary individuals. As an international relief and development organisation, World Vision is doing its best to respond to COVID-19 in more than 70 countries. It has been our mission to actively and rapidly rise to the challenges of disasters and crises over the past 70 years, including the Ethiopia famine, the Rwandan genocide and numerous refugee crises, reaching out to the most vulnerable and standing by them as lives were rebuilt and hope rediscovered.

We may be ordinary individuals, but when we all join forces, we will make an extraordinary impact together.

“Even as ordinary people, we can all become little heroes. Yet, together, these ordinary people can join and rise up as true heroes.”
— Danny So (Sponsor)

The story between Danny So and World Vision started back in his college years when he went on a trip to Cambodia in support of 30-Hour Famine. Stunned by how difficult life was for children living in the “garbage mountains”, he suggested sponsoring a child with his family as soon as he was homebound. “Parents are always happy to see their kids being committed to doing meaningful things and will always agree to join and participate. To me, that is the strongest motivation for both parents and children to give to charity,” he says. Now a father of two , Danny strives to provide his children with as much space for creativity and exploration as possible, enabling them to see the world in a grain of sand. At the same time, he wishes that his children “could acknowledge that even as ordinary people, we all have the ability to make the world a better place. As long as we believe in ourselves, we can all be heroes.

However, to Danny’s six-year-old older son Jack – and so as Danny himself when he was young – superheroes are meant to have superpowers. However, when Danny started playing music in his teenage years, his thoughts took a huge twist. He says, “Musicians and songs deliver messages that are related to our world, love, respect, peace…… I want to become someone like that – to advocate for positive change and to point the world to the right direction. We can’t force the world to change, but if every single one of us can do a little bit of good, it’s those little bits of good put together that will change our world.

As a sponsor for almost 20 years, Danny describes World Vision as, “an excellent mentor from the very beginning. I see the area development programmes and their results; I see how those results can be done by collective effort and commitment. This mentor of mine never ceases to offer me the opportunity to see, to learn and to help others, allowing an ordinary person like me to become a hero. Therefore people around me, including myself, are all happy to learn from this mentor.”

Venue Support: The Mahjong

“If possible, I’d love to visit one [child] every year and see how he / she is doing. It is a bonus to see children grow up because there is so little time for me to be with them.”
— Tinny (Sponsor)

Tinny began sponsoring children when she entered the workplace. As a nurse, it is difficult for her to find time to join World Vision’s supporter tours, so she decided to go on her own. Over the years, she has already been to communities in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar and Bangladesh, sometimes even as the first visitor from Hong Kong.

In the little time that she gets to spend with her sponsored children, Tinny always plays toy bricks with them, hoping to teach them how to play on their own despite the language barrier. “I want my children to learn to share. I hope that they share their toys with their friends and experience the joy that comes from it. When they know how to play, they can teach others and let others play. This is sharing. We need to learn how to share. I certainly cannot sponsor all children, but the toy can pass on my care further.

Before her trips, Tinny would also buy stuff and send them to the communities. “I would give little presents to the students whom I meet during school visits. I would always go with my sponsored children, because as they participate they will help others too in the future when they are able.” Through these ordinary encounters, she hopes to mould and bless her sponsored children’s lives. Perhaps we are all ordinary, but as she says, it takes action from our part to impact other lives.

“I would say, what we do during the pandemic, is not so much helping others, but helping ourselves. Because we are all sad and want to do something so that we can draw strength from one another.”
— Priscilla Wong (Sponsor)

Priscilla Wong describes herself as happy and ordinary. As a child, she attended a primary school in a public housing estate. She still remembers that she was once chosen as one of the representatives of her school to join a dance course, but had to give up the opportunity because her family could not afford it. “I felt inferior at that moment. But when I look back on it now, it was just an experience. Perhaps I was poorer than others, but I was still normal and ordinary.”

The recent pandemic has given Priscilla an opportunity to reflect on poverty. Once, she hurried to the supermarket in her pyjamas to buy rice, only to find herself standing in front of empty shelves. “What we used to take for granted can be gone all of a sudden, yet for many around the world, this is something that they have accepted since birth. For us, poverty is no longer an imagination or something that we perceive as a third person…” During the pandemic, Priscilla contacted World Vision to help her distribute the hand sanitisers that she bought, even making visits and present the gifts herself. “What we can share is not a lot, but I think sharing demonstrate to them that someone actually cares when they feel helpless.” Priscilla understands that true sharing is to be willing to share with those in greater need even when we ourselves do not have enough.

Claiming herself to be ordinary, Priscilla also stresses how Child Sponsorship has made her extraordinary. Having visited her sponsored child, Priscilla believes that this feeling of extraordinariness comes from the fact that her sponsored child has now been given a choice through her, and she believes that this is something that every ordinary person can do.

Venue Support: ELCHK Ma On Shan Lutheran Primary School

“If only one wishes, even an ordinary person can accomplish extraordinary things for one’s neighbours.”
— Dr. Dannis Au (General Secretary of Industrial Evangelistic Fellowship)

For Dr. Dannis Au, the poverty that his grassroots friends face is more than a lack of resources. “There is a kind of poverty that is heartbreaking, that is, a social poverty. These people simply don’t have anyone to help them deal with the tensions and drastic changes in life.”

During the pandemic, Dr. Au and his staff organised a campaign in the community to care for and stand with grassroots families. With the needs immense yet limited resources, Dr. Au found the pressure overwhelming. “We are grateful for World Vision. Not only did they donate stuff, they were also going on visits with us, observing the families’ needs and responding promptly.” When he saw that World Vision was giving out brand new toys collected from donors to children who had long been confined at their small homes, Dr. Au was deeply touched. “These children are poor, but in the eyes of World Vision’s staff, their lives are equally precious.”

On one occasion, a poor person rejected their masks, asking them to pass on the gift to another person in greater need. “The lives of our friends have been impacted by our service. Now they can also love and be a blessing to others.” Amidst different tensions, it has been the joy of seeing lives transformed that inspires him to continue loving his neighbours as himself. “The only thing that we can do for our friends is to offer a glass of water, so that they feel being remembered and cared for.” For Dr. Au, it is something that all ordinary people can do, if only they wish.

“I want to build a team which the people in it feel meaningful and that they are making a difference.”
— Wynn Flaten
(Former Syria crisis response director – Middle East and Eastern Europe region)

Wynn Flaten worked at World Vision for almost twenty years. He was first in the Philippines for four years, overseeing food security projects in the neighbouring Asian countries. He then moved to Indonesia as a project director, where he experienced the great tsunami in 2004. In 2011, he was CEO of World Vision Afghanistan, later he was deployed to Jordan from 2014 to 2018 to lead World Vision’s Syrian refugee response.

The places that Wynn went were always more challenging than the previous one and sometimes posed risks for himself and his family. But for Wynn, working in unstable regions such as Afghanistan and Syria has never made him feel unsafe. “No, I was not afraid. Our work was well received by the locals and that is what protects us. So we must always do our job well,” he says. Wynn does not only refer to the quality of work, but that everything they do should be done in harmony.

Wynn says he did not choose this path of mobile and challenging tasks himself. “I understand the role that faith plays in life. We have to be responsible to the God that we believe in.” His faith is his pillar, and it has helped him make difficult decisions and overcome obstacles. He says that he would say this to himself every morning, “Something good is going to happen today. I have no idea what the future holds, but history will tell us that God has been in control of everything.” As of now, World Vision is still working in Afghanistan, Jordan and the neighbouring region, restoring hope to many refugees.

“We want to be in the world what we think Jesus Christ would be if He were in the middle of all of these problems and needs.”
— Dr. Bob Pierce (Founder of World Vision)

Dr. Bob Pierce (1914–1978), was a war correspondent, a faithful servant of God, a father and the founder of World Vision. In 1947, Bob, then 33 years old, left the United States for China on his first mission, his first time preaching the gospel in another culture. Appalled by the plight and poverty of the people that he met, Bob deeply felt that when someone needed food, clothing, shelter or medicine to survive, hearing the good news alone was not enough, there had to be something practical to go with it. This motivated him to found World Vision in 1950.

Bob covered the suffering of the Korean War as a journalist with his writing and camera, bringing firsthand information back to the United States and calling on people to care for and help those who became orphans and widows. For Bob, the poor were not merely a set of figures, but lives with unique faces, names, feelings, hopes and aspirations.

As the Vietnam War escalated, World Vision became more involved by providing direct assistance, such as starting refugee schools, providing shelters for the displaced, assisting amputees with wheelchairs, and setting up a bakery to make nutritional biscuits for hungry children.

Currently, World Vision has expanded to serve the poor and vulnerable in nearly 100 countries around the world, carrying on with the same passion and beliefs that Bob had.

Unleash Your Hidden Hero

World Vision has been serving the world's most in need for 70 years. We believe that every ordinary person has extraordinary powers.
When we all come together, we can help make the world a better place and create a legacy that lasts.
Join our cause and unleash the hidden hero inside you now!

World Vision Hong Kong, incorporated with limited liability, is a Christian humanitarian organisation working to create lasting change in the lives of children, families and communities living in poverty.
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