Making Connections

One of the more satisfying parts of running a sponsorship program is seeing the individual connections that are formed between children and their sponsors over time.  This is sometimes challenging, since there is so much physical distance between the two, but it happens over and over.

When we travel to Zimbabwe, we get to see the happy dances of children who receive gifts from their sponsors, we talk with teachers who tell us what a change they’ve seen in children who’ve been picked up for sponsorship, and we visit homes where sponsors’ photos are the only decoration on the wall.

We can see how your money is changing children’s lives but, can you?  We highlight students’ achievements in newsletters, but it’s hard to bridge the distance.  The disconnect remains.

Although many families would like to travel to Zimbabwe, it is not financially realistic for most people (and with the current political instability, it is probably not safe either).  However, over the past 10 years, several children have come to the US.

When Marlon came to spend Christmas with his sponsor, he was also able to visit Dale Street School and talk to students about life in Zimbabwe (although perhaps the highlight for the students was the fact that Marlon taught them how to make their own soccer balls).

When Jane came to interview for college, she was able to spend time with the family who had sponsored her for the past seven years.  Later her sponsor spoke about meeting Jane while at a book group and soon a new sponsor, Coral Harris, was inspired.  Coral now sponsors Michelle, one of our rising stars, who is following in Jane’s footsteps on the path to college.

We struggle between the cost to bring a child to the United States and how that same money could be spent in Zimbabwe, and we also know that it’s overwhelming for children to travel.  However, we have noticed a ripple effect.  Not only is it amazing for sponsor families or schools to meet the kids they are helping, but the children who have come here have been inspired.  They return home ready to work even harder, and this, in turn, inspires all the other C4C kids to work harder as well.  Although attending college in the United States may not be the right choice for every child, the possibility of a full scholarship is quite incentive!

This year two children will visit in April during their school break.  We plan to have a few events where donors and friends can meet and listen to the children tell their stories.  Craig and Alice will be prepared to speak about who they are and what life is like in Zimbabwe. If you or your school are interested in hosting them for a day or special event, please contact us.

Craig will be applying to college in 2013, so he is planning to come to the USA this April for interviews and college tours.  If you have a college-bound child and/or have any interest in taking Craig to potential schools, doing interview prep, or helping him with essays, let us know!  We are looking for some volunteers!

Alice is Craig’s younger sister.  She is an articulate and bright sixth grader.  She will most likely attend boarding school after seventh grade, and we fully expect that Alice will apply to American universities in the future.  We are hoping to bring her here in April with Craig.  If your school, church or Girl Scout group might like to spend some time with her, let us know.

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