In countries where Children Incorporated works, such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and India, children need mosquito nets to protect them from mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria and dengue, so that they will be healthy enough to attend school.
Malaria infects around 250 million people worldwide each year – most of whom are children in Africa.
What is a mosquito net?
A mosquito net is a mesh curtain that is draped over a bed or a sleeping area to offer protection against bites and stings from mosquitos, flies, and other pest insects, and the diseases they carry. Examples of such preventable insect-borne diseases include malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, Zika virus and West Nile virus. Research has shown mosquito nets to be an extremely effective method of malaria prevention, averting approximately 663 million cases of malaria over the period 2000–2015.
To be effective, the mesh of the mosquito’s net must be fine enough to prevent insects from entering while still allowing visibility and ventilation. Mosquito netting can be hung over beds from the ceiling or a frame, built into tents, or installed in windows and doors. When hung over beds, however, rectangular nets provide more room for sleeping without the danger of the netting contacting skin, and allowing mosquitos to bite through the netting.
To further protect against mosquito bites, many nets, including those that Children Incorporated provides to children in our program, are pretreated with an appropriate insecticide or insect repellent. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets have been proven to reduce illness, severe complications, and death due to malaria.
Facts about Mosquito-borne illnesses:
– Malaria infects around 250 million people worldwide each year – most of whom are children in Africa.
– Malaria and dengue can result in death, unless detected and treated promptly.
– The most effective means of preventing malaria is to sleep under a mosquito net.
It is simple and very inexpensive to provide a child and his or her family members with life-saving mosquito nets. For as little as $10, you can purchase a mosquito net that will protect an impoverished child from mosquito-borne illnesses.
How can I donate to the Mosquito Net Fund?
You can contribute to our Mosquito Net Fund in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at email@example.com; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and donate to our Mosquito Net Fund.
As an incredibly diverse continent, it is difficult to sum up Africa as a whole. Each of the 54 countries that Africa comprises is unique and distinctive in its own way, offering beautiful landscapes, rich histories, and varied cultures and customs. Spanning over 5,000 miles north to south and 4,800 miles east to west, Africa contains a wide array of religions and ethnic groups. Within each country, stark contrasts exist between rural areas and bustling cities. Known for its amazing natural wonders and safari adventures, which attract tourists from all over the world, Africa also faces a great deal of adversity, as many people there are plagued by extreme poverty, famine, and war.
Facts about Africa
– The African continent has the second-largest population in the world – about 1.2 billion people
– Over 1,000 languages are spoken by the people of Africa
– The most-practiced religion in Africa is Islam, followed by Christianity
– The oldest human remains ever discovered, thought to be approximately 200,000 years old, were found in Ethiopia
– The longest river in the world, the Nile (4,132 miles long), is located in Africa
– The world’s largest desert, the Sahara, which is almost the size of the United States, is in Africa
– Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in Africa, at 355 feet high and one mile wide
– Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, at over 19,300 feet
– Madagascar is the largest island in Africa, and it is the fourth-largest island in the world
– Africa is the second-largest continent on earth after Asia, at approximately 11.7 million square miles
– Africa is the hottest continent on earth
In Africa, we provide children and their families with mosquito nets to protect them against mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria and dengue through our Mosquito Net Fund, and we support feeding programs through our International Feeding Programs Fund.
– 75% of the world’s poorest countries are located in Africa, including Zimbabwe, Liberia, and Ethiopia
– Diseases like HIV/AIDS are leaving kids orphaned at a very young age; an estimated 50 million orphans live in Africa
– Of all of the people in the world without access to clean water, almost 40% of them live in Africa
– Every day, almost 2,000 children die from diseases linked to unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation
Facts about hunger in Africa
– Half of the continent’s population is children; an ever-increasing number is experiencing stunted growth due to the challenges of malnutrition
– More than 300 million children are chronically hungry, and more than 90% of those children suffer from long-term malnourishment and nutrient deficiency
– The average plot of land that a family living in poverty owns is too small for a garden that could help feed a family
Facts about child education in Africa
– Primary school enrollment in African countries is among the lowest in the world
– 33 million primary school-aged children in Sub-Saharan Africa do not go to school; 18 million of those children are girls
– Although literacy rates in Africa have greatly improved over the last few decades, approximately 40% of Africans over the age of 15, and 50% of women above the age of 25, are illiterate
– Children from the poorest households are 3 times more likely to be out of school than children from the richest households
Facts about child health in Africa
– Malaria kills 3,000 African children per day
– More than 90% of the estimated 300–500 million clinical cases of malaria that occur across the globe every year are documented in Africa – primarily in children under the age of 5
– Measles, malaria, and diarrhea are 3 of the biggest killers of children — yet all are preventable or treatable
– 270 million children have no access to healthcare
– 1 in 5 children in Africa lacks safe drinking water
How you can help
You can help a child living in poverty in Africa to receive basic needs and an education so that they may have the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty – and you can do so in a few different ways. One way is through our child sponsorship program. Sponsorship provides an underprivileged child with basic and education-related necessities such as food, clothing, healthcare, school supplies, and school tuition payments. This vital support allows impoverished, vulnerable children to develop to their full potential – physically, emotionally, and socially. Sponsors positively impact the lives of the children they sponsor through the simple knowledge that someone cares about their well-being. This gives children in need hope, which is powerful.
Sponsors positively impact the lives of the children they sponsor through the simple knowledge that someone cares about their well-being.
Our policy has always been to consider the needs of each sponsored and unsponsored child on an individual basis. We work closely with our volunteer coordinators at our project sites, who are familiar with each individual circumstance and the needs of every child in their care. Sponsorship donations are sent to our projects at the beginning of each month in the form of subsidy stipends. Our on-site volunteer coordinators use these funds to purchase basic and education-related items for children in our program, to ensure that they have what they need to do their very best and succeed in school.
You can also help children in need by donating to one of our special funds. In Africa, we provide children and their families with mosquito nets to protect them against mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria and dengue through our Mosquito Net Fund, and we support feeding programs through our International Feeding Programs Fund. Our special funds offer options for sponsors who wish to further their support, as well as for donors who wish to make a difference without making a commitment.
HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN AFRICA?
In Africa, we work in Kenya and Ethiopia. You can sponsor a child in Africa at one of our affiliated projects in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in Kenya or Ethiopia who is available for sponsorship.
As the end of the year approaches, I can say that the Children Incorporated staff as a whole is amazed by what we have accomplished thus far in 2017, thanks to our incredible sponsors and donors. When our President and CEO, Ron Carter, sent out a letter in December of 2016 asking our supporters to help us reach our goal of providing 1,000 pairs of new shoes to sponsored and unsponsored children at our projects in the coming year, we never dreamed the response would be so tremendous.
Just three months after launching our Shoe Fund campaign, our supporters had already donated more than $30,000 to ensure that children in our program in Latin America, Africa, and Asia would receive new shoes. We can’t thank you enough for what you have done for these special young girls and boys.
The importance of shoes
There are a lot of basic needs that children go without on a daily basis – something we understand all too well. Providing basic necessities, like clothing, food, hygiene items, and educational support, to kids is the foundation of our sponsorship program, and we believe that each and every one of these aspects is incredibly important in helping children have a greater chance to succeed in life. So why did Mr. Carter want to focus in particular on getting shoes to kids in need?
“Over the years, we have heard many heartbreaking stories about children who are unable to attend school because they don’t have wearable shoes.”
“Over the years, we have heard many heartbreaking stories about children who are unable to attend school because they don’t have wearable shoes,” says Mr. Carter. “In some cases, children attend school only every other day because they have to share a single pair of shoes with a sibling. We have always made a point of providing good, solid shoes to these children, knowing that shoes can be very expensive. As such, the Children Incorporated Shoe Fund campaign has been one of our most meaningful endeavors.”
Because of you, we have provided children at our affiliated projects the Pedro Poveda School, Guarderia El Angel, the Lourdes School, the Santa Clotilde Orphanage, Villa Emilia, the Montero Home, and the Cristo Rey Mission in Bolivia with shoes this year. Thanks to you, children at Hogar Santa Julia and Hogar Santa Maria in Mexico have brand new shoes to wear to school. If it weren’t for you, children at the Dandora Community Center in Kenya, the Rainbow ‘Erdata’ Center in Ethiopia, Chrishanti Lama Sevana in Sri Lanka, La Milagrosa in Costa Rica, and Santa Isabel Ana Seton in Guatemala wouldn’t have received new footwear, either.
To date, we have provided 1,235 pairs of shoes to kids in need, and we will continue distributing shoes in the upcoming months.
Thank you for all that you do to help children – we couldn’t do it without you.
Around this time last year, Children Incorporated’s Director of Development, Shelley Callahan, and Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, boarded a plane and set off on the first of many adventures together, On the Road. Side by side, the two traveled to dozens of projects around the globe, from as far away as Ethiopia, to as close to home as Kentucky.
The idea was simple: give readers a first-hand look at the impact of child sponsorship. “The day-to-day life in these towns is always a story of triumph over adversity,” Shelley had said. “We want our readers to have a front-row seat on our trips so they can see first-hand how Children Incorporated partnerships work on the ground.”
Luis and Shelley on their first trip together to Bolivia
The duo is preparing for several more trips in 2017. We caught up with Shelley to get her perspective on the series one year later – and to find out where On the Road will take us this year.
CI: It’s been a year since you and Luis first took readers “On the Road” to visit Children Incorporated projects in Bolivia. What is most memorable to you about that trip, and why?
SC: Going to Bolivia was my first international trip with Children Incorporated, and it really opened my eyes to the work we do. As the Director of Development, I understand how important it is to provide basic needs to our sponsored children, and I am aware of the impact that our sponsors and donors have on our children and their families, but seeing it firsthand in La Paz and in Santa Cruz was really life-changing for me.
Also, getting to see a larger, long-term project come to fruition was beyond amazing. Luis and I were invited to participate in the inauguration of the addition to the Montero School, which had been under construction for more than six months. Thanks to the support of Children Incorporated sponsors, the school now has enough classrooms to teach hundreds of children on a daily basis. We got to celebrate with the community there, and we stuck around to see the children try out their new classrooms. The sheer joy and excitement was extremely moving.
That’s precisely why we are doing this – to show what one person can do. It’s really something to witness, and I’m honored to share it with our readers.
We traveled all over Bolivia, and met so many incredible people, including Carla, a woman who graduated from an affiliate program of ours in La Paz. Carla was abandoned by her parents when they left Bolivia in search of work. She was raised by her grandmother, who struggled to support her granddaughter on meager earnings from the produce she sold at the local market.
With support from her sponsor, and under the guidance of our volunteer coordinator, Josefina, Carla successfully graduated from the Pedro Poveda School.
Now Carla is in college and working to save money to build a house. She lives with her husband, and they have a daughter together. And she still stays in touch with her sponsor after all these years! It was such a testament to the power of what one person can do, and just how a seemingly-small gesture, like donating $30 a month to a child, can be life-changing.
CI: Why did Children Incorporated decide to launch the On the Road series in the first place?
SC: We launched On the Road to bring our sponsors and donors along with us in order to show them the impact their contributions are making on children all over the world.
We could never have anticipated the reaction we had from our readers. I’ve heard many times over the past year that people really do feel as though they went on a trip with me – whether it was to South America, Africa, or in the U.S.
That’s precisely why we are doing this – to show what one person can do. It’s really something to witness, and I’m honored to share it with our readers.
CI: Has anything surprised you along the way?
SC: There are always lots of surprises when you travel, but what really amazes me is how this experience has helped develop my relationship with our donors. People comment all the time on the pictures we share and on the stories we tell about our travels around the globe. It’s really wonderful to share these experiences with our donors.
Luis with Carla, her daughter, and our coordinator, Josefina, in La Paz, Bolivia
CI: You started in Bolivia, and went on to cover site visits in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Mexico – and even in the U.S. Which was the most challenging? Which was the most rewarding?
SC: This is a hard question, because every country is different, and every project is different, too! But I have to admit that visiting the slums of Dandora and Pumwani in Kenya was especially difficult. Site visits can be physically and emotionally draining at times. Long days of traveling to projects, having meetings, and interviewing children and their families already requires a great deal of stamina, but when you see the conditions the children live in, and you so desperately want more for them in life, it takes a toll.
Of course, out of the toughest challenges are the greatest rewards. In the bleakest of environments, I’ve seen up-close how sponsorship is making an impact. Most of the children we serve abroad would not be able to attend school if it weren’t for their sponsorship through Children Incorporated – it simply wouldn’t be possible. In many cases, school is the only safe haven available to these children. And in the U.S., sponsorship helps in ways that are so important. For example, there are children in Kentucky who are going to school in literally broken flip flops in the middle of the winter, with no coat – and they’re going home on the weekends to a house with no food. Sponsorship keeps those children warm and fed.
CI: Is there a place you wish you could have stayed longer? Why?
Luis with sponsored children in Kenya
SC: I think I could have stayed in all of these places longer, because our coordinators are so welcoming and grateful for what Children Incorporated is able to do because of our donors. I have felt at home visiting all of our sites. But it would have been really cool to stay in Ethiopia longer, because we had provided some funds to help our affiliate project Kids Hope start a large garden to be maintained by the older sponsored children, to teach them and to provide food for the project – and I would have loved to have seen them get that going. They have since sent pictures, and it looked like everyone was having a lot of fun!
Of course, out of the toughest challenges are the greatest rewards. In the bleakest of environments, I’ve seen up-close how sponsorship is making an impact.
CI: Of all the On the Road stories you published last year, which is your favorite? Why?
SC: Tough question! One particular story that stood out is “Two Wheels and the Wind in Your Hair,” about the sponsor who donated bikes to children in Eastern Kentucky. It was so impactful because I got to be a part of so much of it – connecting with Claudette Gurley of New Hampshire, who had raised the money to purchase the bikes in memory of a friend who had passed away; actually going to Walmart and purchasing the bikes; presenting the bikes to the kids; and then meeting their parents when we dropped the bikes off at their houses. It was all very moving – to see the excitement on the faces of the children. I will never forget one of the boys saying, “I don’t know her (about the donor), but tell her I love her!”
CI: You’ve traveled extensively all over the globe for many years. What’s your best advice to those who want to travel off the beaten path?
SC: I’ve been fortunate to have been able to see so much of the world. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting nearly sixty foreign countries in my lifetime. I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel with Children Incorporated, and to see firsthand the impact of sponsorship in the lives of the children we serve.
My best advice for any traveler is to have an open mind. Accept whatever comes your way, and respect all cultures and traditions, even if your natural reaction is to try to do things the way you are accustomed to at home. It’s always good to ask questions of everyone you meet – on the airplane, your host, someone who works at a local store. You will find out the best, most interesting information about a country from the locals, and you will hear the most fascinating stories from nationals. It is the only way to get a real, full idea of what life is like in a foreign country. And don’t forget to write it all down! Sharing stories is the way to make the greatest impact – if we tell others’ stories, we can help change the lives of others in need, just like On the Road tries to do.
Sharing stories is the way to make the greatest impact – if we tell others’ stories, we can help change the lives of others in need, just like On the Road tries to do.
CI: Did you bring home any souvenirs from the places you visited? What were they and why are they special?
SC: The best souvenirs are the ones that our volunteer coordinators or the children’s families give me, because they are personal and thoughtful. I have to say that the most moving gift I received was hand-painted tablecloths from the mothers of sponsored children at the Montero Home in Bolivia. They took hours to paint beautiful flowers on the tablecloths, which we would see in homes in Bolivia. It is hard to accept gifts from families that are in need, because they could sell them for money instead of give them to me; but it is the most heartwarming gesture, and a gift that will always remind me of these special people whom I have had the privilege of meeting and spending time with.
CI: You are gearing up for more travels soon. Where will you take readers in 2017?
SC: I will be in Costa Rica in May, visiting the La Milagrosa Center, the Costa Rica Center, and the Santa Luisa Center; and we will be distributing shoes to the children there, which is very exciting. On the same trip, I will also visit our projects in Nicaragua, which include the La Recoleccion Home and the Casa Betania Welfare Center – both homes where we support children living in poverty.
In July, Luis and I will be visiting projects in both Sri Lanka and India. We are currently trying to partner with another non-profit organization to take water filters to our children and their families in some of the schools we work with in Hyderabad, India, which is so important. Closer to the end of the year, we will be visiting projects in the Philippines – the details are yet to be determined, but in the past, Luis has taken eyeglasses with him to provide additional support for children and their parents.
It’s not every day that a small nonprofit—even one that’s been around as long as Children Incorporated—finds out that they’re receiving a donation of $1.75 million.
Thousands of children will benefit from Mr. Foy’s donation.
I suppose that’s why I remember the day so well. We had been saddened in 2015 to hear of the death of Mr. Glenn Foy, an engineering innovator and adventurous spirit who had passed away at such a young age — just 59 years old — in a private plane accident. I had spoken to him only once, a few months before his death, and remembered him as a kind soul, committed to what we do, and a regular sponsor over the last decade. It wasn’t unusual for Children Incorporated to receive a bequest, although most tend to come from sponsors who have a much longer history with our organization.
Mr. Foy’s law firm informed us that we’d be receiving 28 percent of his estate to help children however we saw fit, which certainly made my eyes widen. It seemed like a large percentage for such a relatively recent donor.
The magnitude of Mr. Foy’s generosity has allowed us to go to new places, accomplish much, and impact the lives of not just children in need, but their families, their communities, and in some cases, generations to come.
But on the day we learned how that 28 percent translated into real dollars — 1.75 million of them to be exact— I was struck truly speechless.
Glenn Foy was an adventure-seeker, a cycling enthusiast, an aviator, a lover of life. His annual contributions impacted the lives of eight children over several years, but he was quietly generous, preferring not to receive attention for his philanthropy. His supportive family, I hope, will indulge me the attention I want to give to him now.
The magnitude of Mr. Foy’s generosity has allowed us to go to new places, accomplish much, and impact the lives of not just children in need, but also their families, their communities, and in some cases, generations to come.
Our Hope In Action Fund is, essentially, money set aside to use in tackling an ever-growing list of programs to support, centers to build or improve, and projects to get off the ground. We chip away at it, sometimes even making great strides; but this year, we turned so much of that hope into impactful, measurable action.
Glenn Foy’s Legacy in Action
Pinagpala Center, Philippines
Because of Mr. Foy’s gift, we were able to construct a two-classroom daycare center in Tagaytay City, Philippines. Mothers in this struggling area now have a safe place to leave their children as they seek employment or go to work. Every day, you can find children learning and playing at Pinagpala Center, which also provides a nourishing feeding program to improve the health of each child.
Marching Band and Classrooms at Juan Apostol, Guatemala
Children in Guatemala will benefit from new musical instruments.
School and community leaders in Guatemala City have come up with a unique way to encourage student participation in school—the Juan Apostol Marching Band. This band’s talents have become known throughout the country, and playing in the band has become the goal for so many students, which, in turn, encourages students to apply themselves academically (you have to show an “A” grade average before you are eligible to participate; Mr. Foy’s gift allowed us to purchase instruments for the band). At the same school, we also built two new classrooms.
Fruit and Vegetable Garden Program, Ethiopia
Multiple generations will benefit from the produce-bearing garden at Kids Hope–Ethiopia. The community surrounding the center is desperate for agricultural knowledge and supplies. Not only will this garden provide food for the children who attend Kids Hope, but it will also serve as a learning experience for the community.
Biofuel Plant, Kenya
This year, we were able to build a biofuel plant at Maria Immaculata school in Nairobi. Biofuel means energy taken from burning the gases emitted from organic matter – in this case, cow manure. It sounds unpalatable, but these enterprising Sisters figured out a way to keep their costs lowered and introduce more sustainable solutions. And we were there to help.
Dandora Medical Clinic, Kenya
The Dandora Community Center holds a special place in our hearts, and renovating their medical clinic helped the center make huge gains in Nairobi. Attendance is booming, which means healthier children and healthier families. Healthy kids spend more time in school, which leads to better-educated generations, which leads to a brighter future for the whole community.
Students in Kentucky will benefit from Mr. Foy’s donation.
At Martha Jane Potter Elementary School, one volunteer coordinator hit upon an idea for a motivational program that would help encourage attendance. Until that point, attendance had been sporadic at best, particularly during standardized testing. We funded the program, the experiment worked, and we expect the school to try it again next year.
College/Career Awareness Program, Kentucky
Rural Kentucky has a tough time in their struggle with poverty, and we find a lot of the same problems in our country’s rural poor areas as we do abroad. Children without resources, struggling their best to survive, when just orienting them towards other futures often makes a lasting impact. We helped a coordinator at Carr Creek Elementary School establish a program that exposes children to various careers, takes them on tours of community colleges, and even helps their parents with career readiness.
After-School Program, New Orleans
The Encore Academy wanted a way to increase its students’ academic success and social and emotional well-being, and they found it through homework assistance and enrichment activities including computer coding and expressive writing. We proudly funded this program, which also includes gifts of clothing-and now thirty participants are benefiting from it. Gifts of books for the school library extend the program’s impact to the entire student body.
Disaster Relief, Baton Rouge
We’d planned to work on a project at Friendship Capitol Academy, but when the floods struck this summer, we shifted our focus to disaster relief. Approximately forty children in grades nine through twelve received practical assistance (clothing, food, cleaning supplies, and hygiene items), as well as support, comfort, and motivation to attend school, despite the upheaval of the world that surrounds them.
Kindergarten “Boys Club,” Washington, D.C.
At Lucy Ellen Moten School, a coordinator noticed that kindergarten-aged boys were having trouble adjusting to the routine and the structure of a school day. What’s more, they tended to take their overwhelming feelings out by pushing, hitting, or biting. Early intervention was identified as the key to helping these boys express themselves more healthily.
Making your Own Legacy
Glenn Foy had never seen our Hope In Action Fund list, yet he chose to leave such a substantial amount to an organization he believed in. Why? How could he have known what an impact his gift would make?
We may never know the answer, but I’d guess that it’s because Mr. Foy witnessed the power of much smaller sums. And I’d guess this because I hear it from our sponsors all the time. They love how connected they feel with their sponsored children, and they know they can trust us to address specific and individualized needs for each and every child. It’s that relationship that keeps our donors engaged for lifetimes (there really is a rather extraordinary number of sponsors who have been with us since Children Incorporated began in 1964!).
They love how connected they feel with a child, and they know they can trust us to address specific and individualized needs for that child.
This year, we’ve launched our On the Roadseries to show the impact of your contributions to the lives of the children we serve around the world. The dispatches are often inspiring; other times, they convey the honest exhaustion and discouragement that come from the burden of poverty. But time and time again, they always find hope.
In this season of gratitude, we urge you to take a few minutes to think about your legacy. Do you have a plan to make what you’ve earned throughout your life count long after you’re gone?
Whether you make arrangements to have the children you sponsor supported until adulthood or whether you’re more interested in donating a lump sum to support our chosen programs the way Glenn Foy did—no gesture goes unnoticed and no effort goes unused.
We approach each new year with hope. In 2016, we were able to turn an unprecedented amount of hope into action. One man’s decision made that possible for children in so many countries around the world. At every level, we’re counting on the continuing generosity of all of our sponsors and donors to keep that momentum going in the years ahead.
HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD THROUGH CHILDREN INCORPORATED?
You can sponsor a child with Children Incorporated in one of three ways – call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, email us at email@example.com, or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child that is available for sponsorship.
Let’s get right to it: We would be nowhere without your support. Sponsors make it possible for Children Incorporated to help hundreds of thousands of children around the globe rise above poverty.
Kids like Abel, the tenth grader that I and Luis Bourdet visited last June in Ethiopia, depend on sponsors for supplies and flourish because they know someone out there cares about them. Abel is in the top five of his class!
Sabrina holding a picture of Abel
We contacted Abel’s longtime sponsor, Sabrina Timperman, about her connection to Children Incorporated and her relationship with this rising star. Timperman is a veterinarian and lives in Manhasset, NY.
Q and A with Children Incorporated
CI: Why did you get involved with Children Incorporated?
ST: When I was a little kid, I remember watching commercials on Saturday mornings about sponsoring a child. I’d always tell my mom I really wanted to sponsor a child, but we never did. Still, the commercials stuck with me. I decided as soon as I was able, I would do it- and I did. I signed up in 2007 when Abel was very young. I always wanted children but never had any myself. Instead, I saw an opportunity to help a child in need.
CI: Did you specify specific characteristics of the child you wanted to sponsor (age, gender, country) or was Abel assigned to you without specifications?
ST: I was assigned Abel at random. I searched online for Children Incorporated and signed right up. I’ve never looked back.
I searched online for Children Incorporated and signed right up. I’ve never looked back.
CI: It’s been almost ten years-what have you learned about Abel?
ST: Abel is 16 and in the tenth grade. He loves math and wants to be an engineer someday. He’s very smart and could go far if given the opportunity. He lives with his sister and mother in a government-owned house in the slums that costs about $30 a month to rent. His mother supports the family by selling small, plastic housewares and dishes on the street.
CI: What do you know about the slum where Abel lives?
ST: Someone in his family is sick, and I know that some of the things that I send are making a big difference. I hope it helps him survive in a world that is very harsh. They don’t have a lot. The money is providing him with food, clothes, books, and school.
CI: Do you communicate with him directly?
Abel’s school photo as a young boy
ST: Yes! He writes letters to me in English. His letters are short, but I cherish them. Abel tells me which sports he likes, like basketball. He has a sister; someone in his family is sick but not sure whom. I’ve always wished we’d had been able to contact each other more. I know he goes to school and studies hard.
CI: What do you wish for Abel?
ST: I have this vision that in 30 years from now when he is an adult, one time before I die, I would love to see him. It is so interesting to be with someone for so long having never met them. I’ve watched him grow up. I have his pictures in my room of him getting bigger and bigger. I hope I have given him a chance at a better life.
CI: What advice would you have for someone who is reading about you and Abel, and is considering sponsorship?
ST: I think that it is extremely rewarding; it is money well spent. I could go buy myself a latte, but this small amount of money is changing someone’s life, and it is the difference between that child eating or not- and we all have to do our part in making others lives better and this is a meaningful way to do that. You walk away going, “I changed someone’s life today, and I helped give them something that they wouldn’t be able to get in another way”. The money is helping to make a difference and that is important even if you don’t ever meet the child. It’s a little money for all of us, but if we put it together, then we can be impactful and make a really big difference. And hopefully, they can be sustainable and more self-sufficient in a way and they can continue to succeed and move forward.
“Hi, my name is Abel. I am in the tenth grade. My favorite subject in school is physics. My teacher describes me as active, sociable, and an excellent student. I enjoy reading and playing soccer. I live with my mother and sister. I live in a small, old rented room that has no running water or indoor plumbing. When I grow up I want to be an engineer. Sponsorship is important to me because it helps with my school fees and other expenses so that I can attend school regularly without a problem.”
HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN ETHIOPIA?
You can sponsor a child in Ethiopia in one of three ways – call our office and speak with one of our sponsorship specialists at 1-800-538-5381, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in Ethiopia that is available for sponsorship.