I Bless My SponsorBy Aklilu Kassaye
Lawayish, now in grade 10, lives in a village 430km north of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. She has four siblings and is a sponsored child. Her favourite subject is mathematics, and she would like to become a mathematics teacher after completing her university studies.
Lawayish has been a sponsored child for more than a decade now. She recalls the difficult situation of her community before World Vision intervened. She says, “We had no clean water and were exposed to various waterborne diseases. The school we were attending was very old and its floor was dusty. The dust from the ground was affecting our health. We were sitting on rough stone benches, it was uncomfortable and hard to concentrate in class. There were also a number of vulnerable children in our village who were in desperate conditions. Food security was deteriorating and we did not have a culture of saving. All in all, everything everyone was despairing.”
Lawayish was born to a destitute farming family who only had small plots of farmland. However, as they did not have ploughing oxen, they used to rent their farmland to a sharecropper. The income they used to earn from the sharecropper was so meagre that it was not enough to meet their children’s basic needs. “We were living in abject poverty and experiencing food insecurity every year. Our family income could not afford to feed us three times a day. Paying for medication and school materials was a headache for our family. In the worst times, we even had to borrow money. The life that we used to experience was even worse than how I describe it now,” she says.
I Have Seen ChangeWorld Vision has been running a Child Sponsorship programme in Banja for more than ten years, and Lawayish is a real witness of these community development efforts. She says, “World Vision’s life-changing developmental interventions have touched the lives of many community members. With potable water now in our community, no child is experiencing waterborne diseases now. World Vision has also built schools, furnished them and empowered our school teachers. We no longer have to sit in a crowded and dusty classroom. Moreover, various kinds of training on sanitation, hygiene, food security have been provided, greatly improving the community in these aspects.”
Lawayish’s parents have participated in a number of World Vision training programmes, and their lives have been significantly improved by the training on saving. She says, “My parents did not know how a little saving could pave the way to a bigger dream. They used to waste the little income they earned. After they attended training on saving and became members of local village savings group, everything changed for the better. They took loans from their savings group and bought a horse that can be used for farming and transporting goods. We no longer rent our farmland to a sharecropper, but grow crops ourselves with the horse we bought. We are self-sufficient now.”
“Child Sponsorship has brought about a significant change to our community life in terms of health, water, sanitation and hygiene, food security and child protection. It has enabled our community to lead a better life. My special gratitude goes to my sponsor who has contributed to the wellbeing of the children of my community. I thank and advise my sponsor to continue sponsoring children in another part of the world, who might be hopeless as we used to be before. I wish and pray for God’s countless blessings upon my sponsor for all the support that he has offered,” says Lawayish.