How One Sponsor’s Words Colored a Little Girl’s Dreams




Pailyn Tan

Pailyn E. Tan, Sponsorship Assistant

South Central Mindanao Program OfficePhilippines

September 12, 2013


 

It
all began with her first letter to her sponsor. Gazelle, with a few crayons she
borrowed from a classmate, drew a simple picture on the back of her stationery
and carefully handed it to a Save the Children staff member. In school, she didn’t
draw or participate much in art classes because she felt she was not as good as
her classmates who excel in drawing. “They were so good and I was not, I
think,” she recalled.

IMG_7036Months
later, a response from her sponsor came. At that time, she could not understand
English yet, so she asked her teacher to translate the letter.

“You
are such a good artist. I hope you will send me more of your drawings,” the
letter said. Gazelle kept that letter for days before she finally replied. “I
thought of what to draw for her. I wanted it to be special. It made me happy
that she liked my work, so I wanted her to like my drawings more.”

When
the next letter came, she got more words of appreciation and encouragement. The
letter said her sponsor, Sandy, had put Gazelle’s drawing in a frame and
displayed it in her house. That made Gazellle so happy – her sponsor was the
first person to appreciate her work. She brought the letter home and kept in
under her pillow. Then, her mother found the letter and asked her about the
drawings. “My parents didn’t know that I can draw. And besides I didn’t own
crayons. Our money then was just enough for our basic needs,” Gazelle says.

To
win a most coveted art set and continue to draw for her friend from a faraway
land, Gazelle bravely joined a drawing competition in her school, which was hosted
by Save the Children. Her teachers and schoolmates eyed her with scepticism on
competition day because they thought she couldn’t possibly win. But armed with
determination, inspired by her sponsor’s encouraging words – and the desire for
that art set – she shrugged off their stares, and she won!
IMG_7041

“My
first thought when I opened the pink box was that I could draw more beautiful
pictures for Sandy,” she smiled. And that’s what she did. The first time she
used her set was to draw pictures for her sponsor. For two years now, she has
been drawing wonderful pictures. Sandy’s letters, telling her that she enjoys
her drawings, never fail to make Gazelle happy. “Her words encourage me to
improve my skills,” she smiles. “I give back by drawing beautiful pictures for
her.”