Supporters: the ones who carry us through
By Marcus Frost, World Vision Partnership Leader – Marketing and Communications
As I was rummaging around in Spotify over the weekend and listening to the eclectic mixture of tracks in my ‘discovery weekly’, one song stopped me in my tracks. It summed up how I’m feeling as we navigate through the coronavirus pandemic, now with some experience of its devastation, but also the uncertainties of what lies ahead. The lyrics reminded me that during the most challenging periods of my life I’ve been carried, always to a better destination, without knowing it at the time. The song is Footprints in the Sand. I have no problem telling you the song is by Leona Lewis, although I am pretty sure my teenage daughter has been using my account.
It is my hope and prayer that as this pandemic continues to rage around the world, we all have people who carry us and who we can carry. As an organisation, World Vision has been blessed – and I mean that in every literal sense – to be carried by millions of supporters, for 70 years.
It’s easy to feel despair and fear right now. There is a lot of uncertainty in our own lives. And as World Vision’s analysis has found, in our recent Aftershocks reports, there is good reason to be terrified about the impact of this pandemic on the world’s most vulnerable children, in the toughest places.
But I have hope. Those who know me might say I always seem to have a positive outlook. It’s not starry eyed optimism though, fed by living in a dreamland. It’s grounded reality of the children I’ve met who carry more hurt in their eyes than I could ever imagine. I have seen what the indignity of grinding poverty does to a father whose children don’t have enough to eat. My hope comes from a faith and belief that things will get better. It is driven by experience in seeing people rallying together to achieve exactly that.
In times of need, our instinct is to help. We are seeing that right now as Child Sponsors and other donors all over the world are stepping up to prevent this virus wreaking havoc on children who have already faced so much. Committing to monthly giving is an act of faith, but it’s not blind faith. Our generous supporters are discerning, they do their homework, they ask around. They take these decisions seriously and we take them seriously.
We were started by a supporter 70 years ago. The people who give money to World Vision’s work have always been part of that work, not distant from it. They see where their money goes, they meet their sponsored child, they see how empowering our work is. I will never forget the magical moment when I received a photo of one of my sponsored children holding a photo of my family we had sent him – it made it real, made me emotional.
Engaging with customers, from cabriolet drivers to mobile phone users, has always been the best part of any job I’ve had. But World Vision supporters are something else, and are the greatest! We are held up by more than 2.6 million of them around the world; partners in our work to realise a world where girls and boys are free of need and full of promise. They are our hidden heroes, our millions of hidden heroes, carrying the children we work with all over the world through this most difficult of times.
Their support, their faith, their generosity give me reasons to be hopeful. And like the evocative imagery of Footprints in the Sand (the song, or the poem), they give me goose-bumps.
Learn more about how we are helping limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect those affected and the impact our programmes have had in the first 100 days.