Welcoming a Formerly Sponsored Child to Save the Children

Junima shakya

Junima Shakya

Save the Children Staff

Kathmandu, Nepal

April 2014

 

Today, we were introduced to a group of new staff. One name was familiar. He was Guru Saran in his mid-20s. I asked if he is the formerly sponsored child Guru Saran and he answered with a smile, “yes”. 

Guru sharan Sada's photoGuru was born in the Musahar community in the eastern part of Nepal. His family’s only income came from his parents work as daily wage earners in a brick factory.

Our sponsorship program started in Guru’s community in 1990. He was 12 when he enrolled and recalls how excited he was the day his first photo was taken for the program, when he was in grade eight.

Guru had the opportunity to join Save the Children’s child-to-child program in 1996. For three months, he learned about various aspects of children’s rights and child participation. He was also a part of a Save the Children supported child club which he believes helped him develop leadership qualities and stand out as an active youth in his community. Through that club, he participated in various trainings, competitions and cultural activities and gained other important life skills.

Guru was the first person from his village to complete the SLC exam, Nepal’s grade ten completion exam. He continued to receive scholarship support up through grade twelve from Save the Children’s program. He says, “It played an important role in me being able to pursue higher education.” He is currently in his final year of completing a Master’s degree in Education. Guru Saran in STC Regional office 1

“Save the Children changed the course of my life,” he continued. “Had I not been involved with the sponsorship program and child club, I would probably have started working in a brick factory at an early age. I would have given up on my studies. I think about the time when Save the Children first provided me with school supplies when I was in grade five, even before I enrolled in sponsorship, and I think about how they helped me complete my high school education. I feel I have a close relationship with Save the Children,” he says.

Last year, Guru had a short-term job of five months as a junior program officer with the education program. He joined Save the Children in March of 2013 as the Monitoring and Evaluation Assistant, based in our Eastern Regional Office in Biratnagar.

“I want to help children like me. From my own experience, I can say that education is the gateway to social transformation. I want to help those who do not have access to opportunities.” He pauses. “Save the Children provided me with a chance to fulfill my dreams.”

That day I felt extremely happy to welcome Guru as part of our Save the Children team and felt proud that the sponsorship program helped him realize his potential.

You can help change someone’s life, become a sponsor today!

Gift for a Sponsor

Junima shakya

 Junima Shakya, Sponsorship Manager

Asanpur, Nepal

December 17, 2013

Friday is a fun day for children as classes run only for half a day. But Babita has a different reason behind her excitement. From early morning, she was excited to get to the Save the Children camp to write something for her sponsor. 

 

Babita with her gift for sponsorBabita is in 7th grade in a school supported by the sponsorship program in Asanpur village. After school, she rushed home, finished her afternoon snacks and reached the camp at 2:00 p.m.  

 

I was on a field trip to Babita’s village and had an opportunity to observe the camp. All the sponsored children from the surrounding area gathered to write something for their sponsors. Save the Children is collecting these messages and sending them to sponsors as gifts.

 

Babita waited eagerly for her turn. She wasn’t the only one who was excited. Other children looked very enthusiastic. Babita told me with a smile that she was going to make a drawing for her sponsor. She was planning to draw a nice red flower.

 

“I hope my friend abroad will be happy to see the flower I draw for her,” she says. She recalls receiving a letter from her sponsor. “I still have that letter with me,” she shares. “I hope once she receives the drawing I send her, she will write to me again.” Babita drawing for sponsor with sponsorship staff

 

I am happy Save the Children has initiated such writing from children to their sponsors. As I stood there, the air was filled with enthusiasm, giggles and joy. Their eagerness wasn’t just because they got to draw or make handprints on paper; the children were excited because it was an opportunity for them to connect with their valued sponsors.

 

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Profile: Parent of a Child who benefits from Sponsorship-Funded Programs

 

AfCO Sponsorship Blog Post 3 - Shazia Azizzada - Blog Writer 1Shazia Azizzada, MIS (Management Information System) Officer

Afghanistan

December 10, 2013

Khal Mohammad of Faryab Province is not educated as there was no school available when he was a child, but he still serves his people by participating in Save the Children programs. He is an active member of the School Health and Nutrition Committee and feels responsible for mobilizing community members to support programs and send their children to Child Focused Health Education groups.

 

AfCO Sponsorship Blog Post 3 - Parent of a Child - Khal Mohammad with his grandchildren“Being illiterate,” he says, “is like having eyes and not being able to see. Now that we have a nice school, I strongly support children attending and growing up to be teachers, doctors and engineers to build their country.”

 

Seven of Khald Mohammad’s 26 grandchildren go to school and two more enrolled this year. These two girls attended Save the Children’s Early Childhood Development (ECCD) programs, he says, and, according to their teachers, they perform much better than children who did not. That’s why he encourages his villagers to send their children to the groups.

 

“Before Save the Children started their programs,” he says, “almost no one knew about the importance of education or hygiene or child protection, but now community awareness has increased. For example, it was common to drink river water, but families now collect safe water from the school well. The quality of education has improved too, and more children are enrolled in school.”

 

He compliments Save the Children for the programs implemented in his community and for helping people understand how to play an active role in village development. 

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Delivering Smiles







Portrait

Ahmed Ata

Sponsorship Operations Program Assistant

October 21, 2013

Happiness and
satisfaction are inner feelings that differ from a person to another. But there
is no doubt that the smiling face of a child and the happiness in children’s
eyes give us all this feeling of happiness and satisfaction.

Ahmed Ata with children in the field

Even, after 14
years of working with Save the Children, my favorite moment is when I am with a
child who receives a letter from their sponsor for the first time. You can read
so much happiness in the child’s eyes, smiles and unexpected, innocent
reactions.

Most of the
first letters are brief. However, every single letter from a sponsor to a child
encourages her to discover more and more about herself or about the sponsor. Children
think about answers for the questions raised in their minds.

The majority
of children consider sponsors their new world, new family or magic supporter in
spite of distance, nationality and language. They are always eager to hear from
them, share their news, interests, happiness and challenges. This new relationship
inspires the children to know more about the world around them and motivates
them to dream of a better future – and sometimes to go beyond their dreams.

Children received thier correspondences

A letter may
take a few minutes to write, but it may change a lot in a child’s life. It
gives her self-confidence, hope for a better future and motivation to become a better
person.

I am quite
sure that such a letter doesn’t mean something important only to the child, but
also to the sponsor, because adding a value to a child life brings much happiness
and satisfaction.

 

Write
your child today.  Visit your
personalized homepage, www.savethechildren.org/myaccount,
to send your sponsored child an email!

Kampala Notebook: What African Union Promises Could do for Mothers and Children

Chikezie Chikezie Anyanwu, Save the Children's Africa Advocacy Advisor

Kampala, Uganda

July 28, 2010

Today I’m recovering from the last three days marathon of the heads of state meeting at the African Union summit.  With the theme of “Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Development in Africa,” this summit offered the perfect chance to muster major action to save the lives of millions of children and mothers.    

I’m sorry to say that although Africa has around 12 percent of the world’s population, half the world’s child and maternal deaths occur here.  So there’s much work to be done.   

A few days ago, I wrote here what Save the Children and many other advocates and experts were calling on our leaders to deliver at this summit.  I’m happy to report good news.  African heads of state have issued a declaration on that includes many commitments we believe are necessary to dramatically reduce the annual 4.5 million child deaths and 265,000 maternal deaths on the continent.    

On the resources question, the leaders recommitted themselves to meeting their 2001 promise in Abuja to devote 15 percent of their national budgets to health.  In reality, few countries have reached this goal as of yet.  In the last budget year only three did—Rwanda, Tanzania, and Liberia—and that’s down from six countries the year before.  So I’m happy that African leaders recognize they must continue to chase this goal, and not just push it aside.  Prioritizing health funding is central to results in maternal, newborn and child health.    

The leaders also promised to strengthen their health systems “to provide comprehensive, integrated maternal, newborn, and child health care services.”  They listed several important strategies, including addressing the health worker shortage as we had called for.     

The leaders themselves called the current situation a “human resource crisis.”  They pledged to train community health workers to help fill the gap.  That’s good policy because you don’t need a huge amount of money or time to train these workers, and they can deliver most of the services needed to save mothers and children’s lives.  Also, these workers come from the community and, especially when they are women, they can reach mothers and children who are isolated from existing health services.     

However, I’ll point out that while community health workers can deliver lifesaving prenatal and Afr new born healthpostnatal care, and prevention and treatment for leading child killers pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria, they cannot necessarily provide skilled attendance at birth.  That’s also critical to saving mothers’ and newborns’ lives.  So African nations must also look at ways to increase the number of midwives, nurses, and doctors—and work to retain these professionals.     

Another major concern of Save the Children and partners has been around making sure health services reach all women and children.  Too often, poorer mothers and children don’t have the same access to health care (and thus survival) as better-off compatriots.  So I was very pleased to see the leaders pledge to reduce out-of-pocket payments and to single out a strategy we’ve pushed for—making health care for pregnant women and children under 5 free.     

The final pieces of good news that came out of the Summit was the decision to institute a strong and functional monitoring and evaluation framework at national level for data generation, the establishment of a continental task force on Maternal, newborn and child health as well as commitment to an annual report to the AU assembly moving forward on Maternal, newborn and child mortality. This should help hold governments accountable for their delivery on maternal, newborn and child mortality interventions.       

If the leaders follow through on what they’ve pledged in Kampala, you can be certain that many more African children and mothers will survive and go on to lead healthy, productive lives.  That’s good for families, communities, and the very future of the continent.    

So there’s the question of that word “if.”      

In the closing ceremony last night, President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi implored his fellow leaders to act on the declarations they had passed.    

He said: “The time has come for us is to go for action, so that our people are able to see and appreciate the tangible results and benefits that this organization will bring to them.  I believe that we have the means, and we have the political will to do so.  Let us use these means and the political will to show to our people and the rest of the world that indeed we mean to move the economic and social transformation of our continent.”    

Amen to that!    

I hope African heads of state will heed Bingu’s words, because they are the ones with the power to transform promises into action.  If the political will is indeed there, African mothers, newborns, and children will stop dying of preventable causes.  So let’s continue to raise our voices, and do our part to build and sustain that political will!