By: Sia Nana Jones – Communications Officer World Vision Sierra Leone
Solving extreme poverty starts with empowering people to help themselves, that’s why people like Cynthia sponsor children to help their communities fix the root causes of poverty which affects them. Cynthia’s support will help with essentials like clean water, nutrition, food, healthcare, education, protection, and economic opportunities.
Cynthia Hogeveen is the Finance Operations Manager of World Vision Netherlands. She had the opportunity to visit her sponsored children for the very first time in Soa chiefdom in Kono District, Eastern Sierra Leone.
Having had to drive miles through the bumpy, rugged, sloppy roads for the first time just to meet with Kumba and Jonathan my sponsored children, was really special. She hugged me, I didn’t expect that. She made me feel so welcome, the mother had to kiss me which makes it heart-warming. I was seating next to her; she is beautiful and happy. It feels so much more than a picture, meeting her in real life gives me goosebumps and the feeling is awesome. Jonathan was a little bit shy which I expected because meeting a total stranger could be nervous however, he came around and was warm likewise; indeed, sponsorship exists and it is real.
In Cynthia’s view, the collaboration between World Vision and community structures is the key to successful child sponsorship. Filled with so much emotion and a beautiful smile on her face she affirms that her visit had given her insight into the beauty of sponsorship.
“I have seen the reality of sponsorship, it is tangible, and it has so many positive impacts on the lives of the children and community. I see collaboration among the community people and World Vision which enhances development and the peaceful atmosphere enables the all-around growth of children especially the mental aspect of it. I have gotten a medical team or family here in Sierra Leone as Kumba and Jonathan want to be a Nurse even if they had to change their minds in the future, I will always pray for them and ensures they have a beautiful future”, she concludes.
It was a visit of firsts…Hendrina Stubbed the Donor Coordinator of World Vision Netherlands also had her first experience with sponsored children in Sierra Leone while accompanying Cynthia. For Hendrina the visit was a life-changing event, as it spurred her to sign up to sponsor a child.
“To sponsors out there we can make a real difference! I have seen the certainty; it is visible; the impact we are creating is huge. If you're considering sponsorship, you already want to help change lives. Sponsorship makes it possible for you to give vulnerable children fuller lives and better futures”, says Hendrina.
No matter how your sponsorship journey begins, it’s the start of a connection that can help transform a child’s life – and maybe yours too.