This summer holidays were a little different for one local family who travelled halfway across the world and met their sponsor children for the first time.
Last December the Ward family travelled to Uganda to spend Christmas with family they had living there.
The trip proved life-changing when they were given the opportunity to visit the children whose lives they had been changing through Tearfund’s child sponsorship programme.
“I had always wanted my children to be grateful for what they have and realise that they are capable of making a difference in somebody else’s life,” Kristin Ward says.
The Ward family had chosen to sponsor children in Uganda, knowing that with family living there as well, they had a real possibility to one day meet the children.
“I thought about how meaningful it would be if they could see for themselves the difference they can make,” she says.
The mother of three says that when each of her children turned five, they were given the gift of an “African brother” or “African sister”.
“Even before I became a parent I had heard about programmes where you can sponsor children whose ages match those of your own children as a way to teach them about how other people live.”
So far the family sponsor two children – Patience who is the same age as their daughter Eden (9) and Peter who is the same age as their eldest son Hamish (7).
Ward says that when their youngest son, Nathan, turns five, he too will be gifted a sponsor child of the same age.
Ward says the visit reaffirmed for her how important it was to give back to others.
“The most eye-opening moment for us was seeing Peter’s house. We were led through some crop cultivations, to a mud brick house that was damaged severely by the recent rains,” Ward says.
“It was just a mud floor, the mud bricks had crumbled and there were huge holes in the wall. It was totally inadequate shelter and this was their home.”
TearFund is currently helping this family to receive a grant to build a new home.
“We realised that our sponsorship commitment, which is a very modest automatic payment that we give very little thought to from year to year, is something the families are profoundly grateful for,” says Kristin.
“It’s offering a genuine pathway out of poverty for these kids.”
Ward says she wants people to realise how great a difference can be made through a small monthly donation.
Patience and Peter are two of more than 12,000 children who are thriving with the help of Tearfund’s child sponsorship programme.
- To sponsor a child click here.