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A journey to remember: the powerful moments behind a sponsor visit

POSTED September 29, 2020

A journey to remember: the powerful moments behind a sponsor visit

Join Karisha and Juan as they visit their sponsored child in Nicaragua

By Amanda Goveas, donor-relations specialist, Canada

Couple smile with sponsored child

We’re so thankful to our donors. They sponsor children through Children Believe for many reasons. Karisha and Juan are two such caring donors. The Calgary couple felt led “outside their bubble” to help children reach their dreams by sponsoring a child through Children Believe. And, after 13 years of building a relationship through letter writing with Ramon in Nicaragua, they thought it was the perfect time to meet him. Karisha and Juan boarded a plane to Central America before the COVID-19 pandemic began. While there, they built a wealth of memories to carry them through the challenges of 2020. Here Karisha shares highlights from the couple’s sponsorship journey.

Giving beyond Canada’s borders

We always had what we needed. I had no idea what poverty looked like until my first mission trip to Nicaragua — that’s also why Nicaragua holds a special place in my heart and why (Juan and me) chose to sponsor a child from there.

A little about Ramon

Ramon is a teenager, but he was very young when we first started sponsoring him. He lives with his family and attends school. His favourite classes are math and physical education. Ramon aspires to be a professional soccer player, amongst other things, and he works hard to help his family, including taking care of two dogs. His grandmother and sister care for the children while his father and grandfather have a carpentry business. Ramon also helps to take care of his nephew when he is not in school.

From letter-writing to meeting in person

We recognized Ramon right away. His family was so friendly and welcoming, and they all greeted us with hugs. We quickly settled in and got more comfortable throughout our visit.

What we first envisioned of what his home and community would look like ended up being very different in real life. It was better. Ramon and his family live within close proximity to his school, grocery and corner stores, which was nice to see. We observed the high level of involvement the Children Believe team has within the community.

A new appreciation for the impact of sponsorship

The monthly sponsorship allows Ramon (to wear) nice clothes, attend a good school, receive school supplies as well as support his family in buying grocery necessities, including hygiene items. Additionally, part of the sponsorship (donation) goes to help the community.

Breaking the cycle of poverty

The fact that Ramon saw we made the effort to travel a long way to meet him and his family, let him know we really care, and our relationship is that much more special now.

After meeting Ramon and his family, we were moved and felt more connected to them and, ultimately, felt led to do something more. We want to help create an opportunity for Ramon and his family to break out of the cycle of poverty. So, we chose to sponsor Ramon’s two-year-old nephew, Sadrac. We think it’s pretty cool we’ve already met him.

Heartfelt moments to cherish

When I said I love rice and beans, Ramon’s grandmother gifted us a bag of beans. Considering the little resources they have, her gift was incredibly thoughtful and generous. We learned that in Central America when someone offers you a gift, you would offend him or her if you don’t accept it. So, we accepted the beans with grateful hearts and reciprocated with buying groceries for the family (which was our initial plan).

Then, when it was time for us to leave, Ramon and his family stood on the sidewalk just outside their home and waved to us as we walked away. Every time we looked back, they were still there waving, and they continued to wave until we were out of sight. That was a very special moment.

Learn more about child sponsorship today. Visit childrenbelieve.ca/sponsor-a-child.

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ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):

Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.