World Vision staff member works with teacher in school in Ghana

It's who we are

When a child is sponsored, their life is transformed. And that’s because child sponsorship works to empower their whole community, to create a place where children thrive. But what does that look like in real life? Meet the people of Afram Plains, Ghana and see how changing communities changes everything for kids.

What makes us who we are?

What is the one thing, more than any other, that takes all that we were born with and all that we could be, and turns it into who we become?

Sponsored child from Ghana
This is Prince, a child sponsored in  Afram Plains, Ghana. What will influence who Prince becomes?

 

Community.

It’s the people around us who shape us. Especially when we are children. School communities, faith communities, neighbourhood communities. Our family, and the people around them. Our teachers, pastors, classmates, the neighbour next door.

Other things are important too, of course. They are the things that we usually talk about when about it comes to Child Sponsorship. Access to water. Improved income and employment opportunities. Access to education. Or healthcare. COVID-19 has shown exactly how critical these essential services are for communities, families and children to find their way through a crisis.

Child at community water pump in Ghana
Through World Vision, this water pump in Ghana will serve this community by providing access to fresh, clean water to its future generations for years to come.

 

But Child Sponsorship is much more than a way of providing essential support. Being a sponsor of World Vision programmes is powerful because it is all about empowering children, their families – and their communities to own and make their own change. It’s the bringing together of all of these elements which shape a stronger child, from the inside out. Communities matter – COVID-19 has reminded us just how much.

Teacher in school in Ghana with her students

The question is how?

Just ask Faustina Nyarko (pictured before COVID-19), a teacher at Semenhyia Presbyterian Primary School. She’s seen kids from her class among the 18,754 children in Afram Plains turning up faithfully after school (when not closed because of COVID-19) for extra reading classes that child sponsors enable.

 “Child Sponsorship programming creates an amazing environment for all involved in the learning process – even those who are not sponsored. World Vision’s interventions have helped the children develop so much, I can’t believe it. Had it not been for that support, I truly believe the children wouldn’t have so much interest in attending school regularly and wouldn’t see the importance of education.”

community health worker in Ghana speaks with woman in clinkc

Or ask Alexander Debrah, Afram Plains’ Community Health Nurse. He’s one of the health workers whose professional skills have been boosted through training organised by our work in the community.

“Thanks to the training and education sessions, we are seeing a drop in diarrhea, malaria, coughs and other communicable diseases. I have learnt a lot and been able to both personally and professionally develop myself because World Vision encouraged me to attend the sessions.”

There is also real and tangible change empowerment at the very heart of the community.

“Wherever I have seen World Vision work [here], they unite the community with churches in all their projects – it’s beautiful to witness,” says Rev. Eric Larweh Otto, the Presbyterian minister in Semenhyia. “If you compare the lives our children have now to before the Child Sponsorship programme started in our community, it’s unbelievable – you can see the positive difference in everything.

 “It’s fostering a stronger community all round.”

Preist in Ghana speaks with young gril

There is also real and tangible change empowerment at the very heart of the community.

“Wherever I have seen World Vision work [here], they unite the community with churches in all their projects – it’s beautiful to witness,” says Rev. Eric Larweh Otto, the Presbyterian minister in Semenhyia. “If you compare the lives our children have now to before the Child Sponsorship programme started in our community, it’s unbelievable – you can see the positive difference in everything.

“It’s fostering a stronger community all round.”

The strength of community-wide change is that it’s not just for the here and now. It is generational.

“We have seen for generations that when a child doesn’t have access to education, their life options are limited,” says Christopher Teye, World Vision’s Fanteakwa Cluster Manager.

“We want more for these children. So do their parents, and so do their sponsors.”

World Vision staff in Ghana meet with community members

“Our impact has been enormous. In 2017, there wasn’t one child [in this community where I’m standing] who could read. Just one year later, 803 children in the area could read with ease, which is phenomenal. Now in Afram Plains, 84% of our communities have access clean water. Economic empowerment programs are on the rise. Children are articulating issues and bringing them to the attention of adults to ensure any problems are addressed.

“Our objective is to make sure that the children we are empowering will become responsible adults who will be fit to manage their communities in the future. So far so good; the future is looking very bright.”

Child Sponsorship empowers communities to be positive forces for change – and that changes everything for children. Richmond Amenyo, whose son Elorm is a sponsored child in Afram Plains, sums it up best.

“World Vision has done amazing thing in our community through Child Sponsorship. My son, Elorm, has a sponsor. I can see how things are better for him, us as a family and the whole community.