Former sponsored child Marie Mae, now 20 and studying English, reveals how World Vision had an impact on her life in the Philippines.
“Believe in yourself and anything is possible. We just need to try.” This is what I’ve always told myself since I was a young girl.
However, when I was growing up, I realised that this is easier said than done. When I was younger, I was a very shy girl. I didn’t know how to speak my mind in front of people. I was timid at large gatherings. I felt like everything about me was not OK.
In 2012, I was invited to attend a World Vision Philippines seminar, where children from different provinces gathered. I was meek at first, and so were the other kids. But as we spent more time together, we became more comfortable with each other, and opened up a bit about our lives and our opinions.
It was during this particular training that I led a group where every member was a stranger to me. Yet I had to do the task so our team could participate.
It was then that I learned to gradually say what I thought we should do, and in return, listen to others about what they thought we should do. It was a meaningful moment for me! For a timid girl, this new experience was memorable.
That training started to change me for the better.
Since then, there were many opportunities I became involved in. I slowly learned to speak my mind and be comfortable around other people. I also learned to be a group leader. I started believing in myself, in what I can do, and shared this with other children.
Then I became a child leader, the voice of the children in the community, somebody who can speak on their behalf on issues that affect us - children.
These experiences propelled me forward and enabled me to help my family when tragedy befell us a few years back. My father, whom we relied on for our everyday needs, suddenly died of an illness. It was a very devastating moment for us, especially for my mother, who suddenly became the head of the family.
And, add to that, the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Being one of the eldest of the nine children, I need to help mother while at the same time as continuing my studies. I accepted a part-time job as a tutor in our community. My earnings are meagre, but it is better than nothing
Soon, I won’t only be teaching the children in my community, but also those abroad.
I’ve also noticed how I’ve matured in so many ways.
Looking back, I sometimes wondered what would I be if not for World Vision. The things they do - trainings, seminars - may look like ordinary, daily tasks, but for a child who has nothing, those tasks were opportunities to learn and improve our lives.
It is World Vision that taught me to dream and to make the impossible, possible.
I may not be a sponsored child anymore - but all the lessons I learned from the numerous experiences that World Vision provided for a simple, timid girl, will always remain in my heart.
When I become a teacher someday, I will do the same thing to my students. Helping them believe in themselves … just as how World Vision helped me believe in myself.