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What it meant to me to meet my sponsored child

POSTED September 11, 2017

What it meant to me to meet my sponsored child

Join me as I travel to our program areas for the first time

By Patrick Canagasingham, CEO

Patrick Sponsored Child Nicaragua

Positive anxiety. That’s what I felt in the days and hours leading up to meeting my sponsored child in Nicaragua.

I woke at the crack of dawn, travelling three hours to meet Maryenis in her hometown, more than 200 km from Managua, the country’s capital. As the car rolled up, I wasn’t just Christian Children’s Fund of Canada’s (CCFC) CEO, I was this 11-year-old’s sponsor.

And, I wasn’t the only one asking questions during this special visit. Maryenis was eager to learn more about me, asking “how’s your health” and to see family photos. I shared stories of my childhood and how difficult it was growing up in Sri Lanka during the civil war before immigrating to Canada.

It was the perfect opportunity to talk about her dreams for the future. Already, she feels called to serve others as a nurse. I was struck by our similar aspirations to help people and be changemakers.

I was happy to hear Maryenis is inspired to make her dreams come true at peer groups and through life-skills training provided through Christian Children’s Fund of Canada’s sponsorship program in her town.

But, the entire community benefits from the sponsorship she enjoys. CCFC is providing adequate sanitation services, school and health clinics. Children are going to school with the supplies they need, receiving healthy snacks and parents are learning more about how to raise a healthy family.

It’s all thanks to the partnership of generous donors, children, families, local partners and governments working together to ensure children and their rights and needs are heard.

In fact, I was encouraged to meet Denis Moncada, the minister of foreign affairs, and Arlette Marenco, the vice minister of foreign affairs. I thanked them for giving CCFC the space to complement their efforts to improve the lives of children and families in Nicaragua.

Our strategy resonated with them — spurring questions and conversation. They’re excited about our mission to build a future for children, families and communities by giving them skills and resources to overcome poverty.

That’s what it’s all about for me. Call it cliché, but I want children to know they can make a difference and make their dreams come true, too. It’s the message I left with Maryenis and the theme of conversations I had with her peers during my visit.

And, as I pulled away from this happy girl’s family home on a sunny Sunday, I felt proud of the work we’re doing, empowering children and youth, like Maryenis, to not only think about their future but also articulate their dreams. That was truly inspiring.

I hope to continue to see that thread of joy, hope and positive change on my next trip. Stay tuned as I share news from India in coming months.

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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.

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