Unleash Your Extraordinary Impact


Unleash Your Extraordinary Impact

For the last year or so, we may have a feeling that our lives have been rather plain, but not normal at all. Living with a pandemic, we have been forced to reflect on the way we live, our hygiene habits and how precious it is to have good health. We may even realise that we have linked with those near and far and share the same future. For World Vision, in spite of our experience over the last 70 years, the challenges posed by this COVID-19 have been unprecedented.

We have always been working in regions struggling with hunger, poverty, disease, conflict and uneven distribution of resources. But what drives us to going further? What exactly is World Vision’s work about?

In his book Best Things in the Worst Times, former World Vision International President Graeme Irvine records the answers from a team of World Vision workers:

The work of World Vision is:
  • where learning takes place and experience is gained
  • where love is demonstrated
  • where the objectives of World Vision become reality
  • where donors’ expectations are fulfilled
  • where the poor meet God
  • where the hardest and most important work is done
  • where the talking stops and the action starts
  • where the face of World Vision is seen
  • where people’s gifts are discovered and released
  • where transformation begins
  • where hope is born
When you think of World Vision, perhaps you will recall the children that we serve, the humanitarian work we do or the events we organise. However, our work is actually a collective tapestry of testimony woven by all donors, partners, beneficiaries and staff, an extraordinary impact through collaboration. During the pandemic, we have seen the extraordinary impact of ordinary people. As Mother Teresa said, “Do small things with great love”, the most important thing is not about how big or small that we do, but whether it is done with love. With love, you too can unleash an extraordinary impact!

Lenny: A former sponsored child with a passion

When the pandemic struck the Philippines in March 2020, Lenny, 27, was one of many frontline workers to suit up to serve and protect her country from the virus.

As a government health worker, Lenny is monitoring COVID-19 cases in her community. She scans temperatures at a major intersection, and in a local triage centre she interviews people with cough and cold symptoms, supporting identified high-risk individuals with regular monitoring. “Being a frontliner is a challenging task especially when the enemy is invisible,” she shares. “I am worried especially because I have an infant waiting for me at home. But I need to take on this task because it is where I am most needed.”

Lenny’s sense of service for others is rooted from her childhood. She is the youngest of three siblings. Both of her parents were farmers who did not earn a regular income. Putting Lenny and her siblings through school, especially when they reached college age, was a challenge. It was a blessing for the family when World Vision supported Lenny’s education. As a sponsored child, she grew up with a keen awareness of what it means to be generous and to give back. It is for this purpose she studied midwifery and nursing at college. Because she received the gift of sponsorship, she wants to pay it forward by helping others. Someday, she would like to become a doctor. “Thank you to my sponsor for supporting my education. It was the push that I needed to have a big dream and work hard for it,” says Lenny.

Lenny, a former sponsored child in the Philippines, understands what it means to give. She is willing to use her professional skills to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lenny was assigned to a triage area to conduct checks for people with coughs and cold symptoms.

Before the pandemic, she worked as a village health worker, travelling hours over rough terrain each week to rural communities where access to medical services is limited. She provided prenatal care, infant care (such as immunisation) and regular check-ups for new mothers. But when she was called on to be part of the COVID-19 government health response, she willingly accepted. “I hope that the country will recover from this pandemic and everything will get back to normal,” she says.

Like Lenny, the global pandemic has transformed millions of ordinary people into heroes, quietly stepping forward to help the most vulnerable. Without fanfare or accolades, they put themselves at risk on the frontlines of the medical field, or by simply delivering groceries to those more vulnerable to the virus. Because of love, they were compelled to help their neighbours, strangers, and “the least of these”.

Peter: A driver facing a new challenge

In his 10th year driving for World Vision in South Sudan, Peter, 45, found himself confronted with a new and invisible challenge and a different way of ferrying his passengers to work destinations – in a mask. Apart from reminding his passengers to fasten their seatbelts before taking off, he is also responsible for making sure they sanitise their hands as soon as they get into the car. Peter was used to a lot of challenges having grown up in conflict-ridden South Sudan, but this one is different.

“My job helps ensure the food assistance team can deliver on time. This is a difficult time when people can easily be stressed because of fears. I try to be patient and calm because it is important in teamwork,” Peter explains.

In 1991, when fighting became intense in Peter’s village, his family left South Sudan for Uganda. “I lost my mother to the conflict. She got sick and it was not possible to bring her to the hospital for treatment. I left with some relatives and settled as a refugee in Kenya then later in Uganda,” he shares.

Peter has been a World Vision driver for ten years. In the midst of the pandemic, he remains committed to his role and duties, making sure that food assistance is delivered on time.

In South Sudan, World Vision drivers are not only threatened by the pandemic from cross-community travel, but also different challenges on the way.

“One good trait of the South Sudanese people is that if you get separated from your relatives, anyone will just take you in and take care of you. It happened to me and that was how I survived in the camps I have been to,” Peter recalls. This kind of attitude regarding everyone as a part of the family gives him the hope that in this time of the pandemic, the people of South Sudan will help each other to overcome the health crisis.

Through sheer persistence and support from people and his family, Peter was able to study in a vocational school and became a car mechanic. He eventually found his way to working with World Vision.

Now a father of six, Peter has left four of his children in Uganda to study, while two are with him in South Sudan. He adds, “I remind my family, especially my children, to never underestimate this virus and to share the information with their friends and neighbours. As a World Vision staff, I have to do my share of campaigning to people around me.”

He listened and read a lot about the pandemic and understood how dangerous the virus is when it infects people. “At work and at home, we cannot afford to be negligent. We have to take it seriously and help protect others,” he says.

Kefa: The persistent geologist

Kefa is a geologist who supervises the drilling team at World Vision in Kenya. “We are tasked with the responsibility of drilling boreholes and equipping them with pumps, as well as rehabilitating existing ones that may not be functioning optimally. We also put in place the infrastructure that make it possible to harness and purify water sourced from springs or rivers. This improves access to clean and safe water for communities.”

Within the month of April and May 2020, the team travelled for approximately 400 kilometres – away from Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi – to remote destinations, on their mission of providing clean water to communities in need. During this period, they traversed to various Kenyan Counties characterised with harsh climatic conditions and tough terrains. They include Laikipia, Marsabit, Turkana, West Pokot and Baringo.

“Water plays a significant role in the fight against COVID-19. So communities need water now, more than ever before. This need motivated us to leave our homes and travel to these hard-to-reach areas,” says Kefa. Upon arriving at selected sites, the team would pitch camp and erect tents. This would serve as their living quarters until the intended tasks in the area were completed.

Despite experiencing extreme weather patterns, ranging from very high temperatures to heavy rainfall that caused floods and landslides in most parts of the country, the team soldiered on, encouraging each other. “Many times, our trucks would get stuck in the mud. And we would spend a lot of time trying to pull them out. This would slow down our work, but it never dampened our spirits,” says Kefa.

Geologist Kefa, World Vision Kenya’s drilling team supervisor, and his team has continued to drill boreholes across the country, providing communities with clean water to counter the pandemic.

For Kefa and his team, their greatest satisfaction comes from providing water sources for families and children facing water crisis in Kenya.

In the deathly silence of the night, Kefa and his fellow teammates would think of their families and loved ones back home. Despite missing them so much, they got consolation from the purpose of their work. “We were content that the water projects being undertaken would change lives and bring joy to many families and children facing water challenges in Kenya.”

One of the lowest moments for the team, Kefa narrates, was when the Kenya government banned travel in and out of Nairobi so as to contain the spread of the disease. “We were all worried because we didn't know when or how we were going to return to our families in Nairobi, upon completing our tasks,” he says. Despite these challenges, Kefa notes that the team decided to remain positive and motivated, while putting their trust in God. Consequently, they managed to successfully inspect and test the water quality of seven boreholes that they had drilled. They also went ahead to connect four boreholes with solar-powered pumping systems that will help distribute clean and safe water to many households.

“It’s always heart-warming to see the faces of children and families lighting up. We also feel happy knowing that we contributed to the joy and change in their lives,” says Kefa with a beaming smile.

Raphael: A boy of wisdom

In Kenya, 14-year-old Raphael is determined to stop the spread of COVID-19 in his family and community in Kakamega County.

“I heard of the coronavirus disease from my teacher before schools were closed due to COVID-19. Knowing that the virus was deadly made me worried,” says Raphael, who is a Form One student. But with training from World Vision, Raphael was able to get in-depth knowledge about the virus and how it can be prevented. “I could not wait to share the message with my family and friends,” he says. Raphael began by teaching all his siblings to wash their hands properly with clean water and soap. He also strategically placed a handwashing facility at the entrance of their home for ease of access and use by his family and visitors.

Raphael set up a handwashing facility at the entrance of his home for his family and guests to use.

Before playing football, Raphael helps his friends understand more about COVID-19 prevention measures.

Raphael’s mother, Margaret, describes her son as zealous. She says that the boy is always looking for ways to make a difference in people’s lives, especially children. Aside from the COVID-19 awareness creation role that he is playing, Raphael is also a child rights champion. He constantly checks on children and reports any cases of abuse to the Chelwa CBO (community-based organistation), which has been empowered by World Vision to address child protection matters and forward arising complaints to the relevant authorities such as the police and the county child protection department.

“At first, I was sceptical about the existence of COVID-19. But after listening to my son and hearing a lot about it from the radio, I was convinced that the disease is real. I am really proud of my son and the good job he is doing to spread the message in the community and help people,” says Margaret.

During the day, Raphael usually reads. He also helps his parents with house chores and livestock care. Later in the evening, he joins his friends at a nearby field to play football. While there, he takes the opportunity to sensitise his peers on COVID-19. Before any football game begins, all children have to wear facemasks and wash their hands with soap and water. The number of participants is also kept minimal to avoid overcrowding.

Raphael is among the many children empowered by World Vision who have taken it upon themselves to continue making a difference in their communities so as to protect fellow children from COVID-19 and abuse.

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