Giveness’s Last 6 Hour Walk

Author Portrait_Annette Malilo, Information and Communication Officer
Annette Malilo

Information and Communication Officer

Save the Children in Zambia

August 18, 2017

Life has not been easy for 13-year-old Giveness, a grade 6 student in Lufwanyama, Zambia. She lives in a small village called Chifumpa with her mother, father and younger sister, 9-year-old Bibiana. Villagers here earn their living by fishing and farming. Giveness makes sure she helps her mother with washing dishes and fetching firewood, which are common daily chores for children in this rural part of the world.

Giveness with her bicycle, which cuts her 3-hour ride to school to just 1 hour!
Giveness with her bicycle, which cuts her 3-hour ride to school to just 1 hour!

Determined to be a nurse when she grows older, she goes to school every day with her sister. In the past, they would walk side-by-side for three hours each way to school through the thick forests that surround their village, spending an unbearable six hours walking each day. Because of this, children like Giveness and her sister were frequently absent and had to repeat grades due to poor school performance. For some, rivers and lakes further impede travel, when during the rainy season floods make some areas completely impassable for the unsupervised children on their daily journey.

“Before Save the Children gave us bicycles I used to walk 15 kilometers to school and back every day. I would start off at 5am when it’s still dark with my young sister. We would walk for 3 hours and our legs would be sore. We almost gave up on school. But now that I have a bicycle my legs feel better.” she shyly says in the local language, called Lamba.

Giveness is now able to go to school every day and carry her sister along with her on her bicycle, like many of her friends that have also received a bicycle thanks to sponsorship funding support, purchased through a community cash transfer program. The head teacher also shared that the number of children attending school has risen as those that have received bicycles carry their friends and siblings along as they go to school.

Giveness smiling with her friends outside of their sponsorship supported school.
Giveness smiling with her friends outside of their sponsorship supported school.

“I am so happy to be sponsored because I am able to learn, receive letters from my sponsor, and also have a bicycle. When I grow up I want to be a nurse because I am acquiring a lot of knowledge at school.” Giveness says proudly.

Giveness now cycles to school within an hour and another hour to get back home. Instead of taking a journey of six hours, it now takes her just two, and she does not miss out on any lessons because she is always on time and no longer constantly tired and sore. Thank you, sponsors, for making this possible!

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

Sponsorship is “Save the Children’s Engine”

Author Portait_Noemi Maidana, Sponsorship Assistant
Noemi Maidana

Sponsorship Assistant

Save the Children in Bolivia

February 10, 2017

Hello, my name is Noemi. I am a Sponsorship Operations Assistant for Save the Children in Bolivia, here in Cochabamba. I would like to share with you some of the valuable work Sponsorship makes possible, and one of the amazing people that works directly with the families and children we support.

Meet Justa, a primary school teacher who has been working with children for over 22 years.

Justa is a very active, hardworking and loving teacher. She explained to us that before Save the Children started working in her school both students and teachers faced many problems. “This was a largely forgotten school by local authorities. [We] had many needs and were used to old fashioned and routine-based teaching methodologies.”

Justa explaining the Sponsorship enrollment process to children.
Justa explaining the Sponsorship enrollment process to children.

When Sponsorship arrived, Justa viewed having Save the Children work in her school as a great opportunity to further improve educational quality for her students through its various programs. She regularly participates in Sponsorship workshops, meetings and activities to learn how to make her lessons more engaging and improve her teaching processes.

She understands the importance of the operational piece of Sponsorship, and how helping our programs run like a well-oiled machine on the ground directly relates to the funds we receive through donors. This combined with her great experience in our workshops and trainings motivated her to become a Sponsorship Operations Lead Volunteer in her school. She tells us Sponsorship is “Save the Children’s engine”.

In volunteering to facilitate sponsorship operations, Justa helps enroll new children into our sponsorship programs. The first and perhaps most important step of this process is meeting with parents to explain what Save the Children does and how it helps children, schools and communities. Justa thus acts as an ambassador for our programs in her community, helping to explain the purpose of our strategies in health and education, and sharing results from other Sponsorship supported areas and those already occurring in her school. She also encourages parents and teachers to attend events and fairs on topics like health, safety and education, to help them improve the learning of the children in schools and at home. By organizing meetings with parents and community members, volunteers like Justa help us continue to reach even more children in need.

Justa with her students, Rosmery, Sindel, Teresa, Maria, Cristian, Luciano, Brayan & Roberto.
Justa with her students, Rosmery, Sindel, Teresa, Maria, Cristian, Luciano, Brayan & Roberto.

Justa shares, “I believe that all children receive help thanks to the support that each sponsor contributes to Save the Children’s programs. I think that losing a sponsor is like losing a family member. Therefore, I consider [it] very important that children participate and exchange letters with their sponsors.”

Have you written to your sponsored child recently? When you do, dedicated Sponsorship team members in each of our country offices sit with your sponsored child to help them compose letters to their sponsors, and learn about reading and writing while they do. Someone like Justa will be beside him or her, guiding them to put their thoughts into words and say hello from across the globe.

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