POSTED May 3, 2023
Lives changed through child sponsorship: “You never lose if you sow into the life of a child!”
Learn how sponsorship has changed the life of Mathieu and has helped him to realize and live his dreams.
By Olivia Bangre, communications manager, Burkina Faso
Sponsorship can make a huge difference in the life of a child who faces the many challenges of living in a lower-income country. In often poverty-stricken and isolated areas where the sponsored children live, education is a lever for empowerment and for choosing a better future.
During a national forum on Early Childhood Development in January, Mathieu looked back on his sponsorship experience and reflected on how sponsorship not only improved his life but the living conditions of families and communities.
Originally from Mahadaga, a village in the rural commune of Logobou in the province of Tapoa in the eastern region of Burkina Faso. Mathieu was in fifth grade when he became sponsored in 1992, one year after Children Believe started working in that area. Today, he’s currently working as the Director of Juvenile Justice at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights in charge of relations with institutions in Burkina Faso.
Sponsorship has allowed for the concrete and lasting improvement of the living conditions of the children of his village by meeting their essential needs in the areas of health, education, access to drinking water and food.
For many children, the support of their sponsors is a real encouragement on a daily basis. Through sponsorship, supporters get to know their sponsored children and create personal relationships, even though these children live on the other side of the world.
Mathieu received correspondence from his sponsor through Children Believe and in turn took great pleasure in writing to her. She quickly became a special part of his life. “Most of the time we had correspondence with our sponsors, they would tell us about their lives and we would tell them about ours, explaining how things were going at school. I remember my sponsors name. Her name was Gloria Becheler. If she saw me today, she would know that she had sown useful seeds,” says Mathieu.
Thanks to sponsorship, he was able to gain confidence in his potential, continue his studies and be what he is today. He’s so grateful to Children Believe for playing a huge role in his life and providing real encouragement on a daily basis.
It has empowered him to break the cycle of poverty and lead a better life. Mathieu says, “The fact that I was supported propelled me. If I had been left to my own devices, it would not have created ambitions and even dreams in me. Maybe I would have stayed somewhere with many children in the village. Sponsorship is a motivating element, a trigger that leads you to surpass yourself and to dream, and sincerely, I dreamed and I think that my dreams were not in vain given what I am today.”
When he was a student, Mathieu had the opportunity to work with Children Believe and he kept a beautiful memory of this experience. “When I was still in university, before becoming a magistrate, I was able to work a little with Children Believe because they had gone back to Mahadaga to conduct surveys on the socio-economic life of parents to see how to better support the sponsored children. I was able to take part in the activities.”
Thinking about his journey in life, he remains convinced that he is very committed to the cause of children and that it is part of his daily life. “Somewhere along the line, in an unconscious way, sponsorship led me to the issue of children. I do not know. I love my job, I love what I do and everything I can do for the children I will do. I ask that the structure be able to work for many children so that in the future there will be many who, like me, can testify that they have been the beneficiaries of support that has borne fruit,” he says.
Mathieu has only words “gratitude and thank you” for Children Believe and especially for his sponsor. “Taking a child by the hand and leading him or her into the future” is a perfect example of the role that sponsorship plays in the lives of children. Without ever taking the place of or replacing the parents. He believes sponsorship is a concrete and efficient way to act on the well-being of a vulnerable child. This support “directly improve a child’s life and make him or her a future leader… I am a palpable example of what a structure can sow in the life of a child today in the hope that tomorrow it will be the future of the entire nation.”
In total, there are approximately 2,000 children who have benefited from the direct sponsorship program in the Mahadaga community. In 2019 the community has graduated from the sponsorship program. But Children Believe continues to operate in the community through the Village Savings and Loans Association program.
In Burkina Faso, unfortunately, there are still thousands of children who are in a vulnerable social situation due to the insecurity caused by terrorist attacks. However, every child, wherever he or she is, needs to eat, be cared for, go to school, be loved and be protected. This is why we fight every day to ensure that our sponsorship program allows children to grow up in a more stable environment where all their basic needs are met. “You never lose if you sow into a child’s life. Today they are children; you don’t know what they may become. Supporting a child is the noblest thing anyone can do in their life.”
You can help more kids realize their dreams through sponsorship today.
ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE:
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.
About ChildFund Alliance:
A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.