POSTED January 17, 2019
Experiencing the joy shared between sponsors and sponsored child
A heart-warming encounter unfolds in India
By Bhuvaneswari Mahalingam, manager of sponsorship and partnership development, India
It’s a Monday morning, and I am driving to work. The previous evening many of us were in a daze. So many people were crying tears of joy.
We were excited about a visit to a community where we work in India. Karen Dellert and her husband, Wayne Hollohan, had travelled to meet their sponsored child, Anitha, in Manickanagar, Ramnad District. This was after Karen’s family had been supporting Anitha for 13 years, originally by Karen’s mom who asked her daughter to continue the support after her death.
The day started at 4 a.m. with Lipi Jobson, our communications manager in India, and I joining the couple from British Columbia on a visit they’d been planning since travelling to nearby Sri Lanka eight years ago. Anitha was perhaps equally excited having been unable to sleep the previous night in anticipation of the special meeting.
Karen and Wayne were welcomed in the community with traditional flower garlands. The couple were clearly delighted to meet Anitha. “I was overwhelmed, which quickly turned to joy, to see what an amazing young person [Anitha] has grown into,” Karen told us later. “I felt proud of her and glad I sponsored her and made the visit.”
The couple met the family and community on a tour of the village. Excitement was overflowing in the neighbourhood where the sponsors were given a window into the workings of the village, watching a fisherman weaving his net, men setting up for a local festival, visiting Anitha’s mother’s shop and a local beach. Karen and Wayne saw children play local sports, such as kho-kho and kabbadi. And our local partner hosted a lunch for the sponsors and Anitha’s family.
Then it was time to share gifts. Anitha may be getting her Bachelors in Commerce, yet the drawing books, paints, brushes and pens she received are enough for a career in the arts. Karen and Wayne knew of Anitha’s love for drawing from the art she regularly sends them; in fact, they told us they hang it on their fridge back home. And, there were more thoughtful gifts that won’t soon be forgotten.
In the end, Anitha cried tears of joy, saying, “They kept asking, what do you want?” I told them, “Your visit is sufficient! Though I said nothing, they are giving me everything.”
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