My CheerleaderBy Lara Gonzales
16-year-old Alyza, who is from the Philippines, is the epitome of a model student and daughter: she helps her mother run their family’s sari-sari store, encourages her siblings when they find their lessons too difficult to understand, and studies hard to get top marks in class. Despite her achievements, Alyza used to be afraid of socialising with other people and public speaking.
“World Vision has helped me in so many ways. Back then, I used to be a mere participant in their training and activities. Those same sessions are the reason why I’ve overcome my weaknesses and became a child leader today,” Alyza says with a smile. Besides attending World Vision’s workshops and seminars, having child leaders who are close to her age to mentor her about facilitating activities to younger children also boosted Alyza’s confidence. “In 2017, I went to a spiritual nurture camp with World Vision child leaders who came from different parts of the Philippines. I met a lot of children and became friends with them. I still use the lessons we learned from the camp whenever I lead community activities.”
Alyza also found a cheerleader and a friend in her sponsor. “My sponsor has such a positive impact on my life. We tell each other about our day-to-day experiences – it’s like having a friend from faraway.” Alyza’s sponsor writes to her at least four times a year. “My sponsor is very supportive and always congratulates me whenever I achieve something in school and encourages me to pursue my dreams. The support also contributed to my growth,” says Alyza.
As a World Vision sponsored child, Alyza receives school kits at the beginning of each school year, and hygiene kits whenever her community is hit by unexpected disasters. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Typhoon Goni destroyed trees and power lines in Alyza’s town. As members of saving groups introduced by World Vision, Alyza and her mother were able to use their savings to support their needs. “World Vision has helped me in so many ways. I hope more people would sponsor young girls like me. We have lots of talents and skills that are just waiting to be discovered and honed,” says Alyza.