I did something last Sunday night that I’ve wanted to do for several years now…sponsor a child through World Vision (www.worldvision.com). Take a look at Claudine’s adorable, little face. It’s just about the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. Yep, I’m already in love.
Just a little about her…
Claudine is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, former Zaire. She just turned five a couple of weeks ago. She lives with her mother and one sister. Her mother works in the agriculture industry. She loves to play with dolls and she runs errands for her family as her primary chore. Her health is satisfactory.
Reading those stats, you wouldn’t really understand the reason I chose her from all the other precious faces. But if you aren’t too familiar with the DCR, and I wasn’t until Sunday, it’s a worn-torn country that sits in Central Africa. It’s the third largest country on the continent. The average annual income for a family is $120, one of the lowest in the world. Less than half of the population have access to clean, safe drinking water. This issue alone can cause 80% of the world’s diseases. Also, less than half of the children are in school. But the children may be more preoccupied with whether or not they will be recruited as a soldier or slave, so survival trumps education. Over the last few decades, there were two civil wars, referred to as the Africa World War, in which over 5.4 million people were killed. Poverty is severe here, as is malnutrition. The AIDS/HIV epidemic has also infiltrated the country, and Claudine’s family lives in an infected area.
I also knew I wanted to sponsor a little girl because I have been given so many advantages here in the US, and there are so many girls and women who are at a major disadvantage because they are female. So I wanted to help create opportunities as others did for me. A study conducted by the United Nations concluded that women’s rights and fair treatment was not a priority in the DCR and in fact, women were treated extremely poorly in some circumstance. There is even the existence of “female circumcision” which is more of a mutilation to these young girls. Girls and women are frequently bought, sold and traded for work or sex.
And that’s a little about the country…
It’s so difficult to read those things from the comfort of my living room, laying on my couch, in the air conditioning, with quick access to cable/internet and a refrigerator. I don’t really look at that and feel bad for the things I have, because I have more than just things. I have a responsibility. I desire to see the life of others improve because of God working in and through me. I desperately want change. And I have hope that it can…but I can’t do it alone.
I really wish I could just jump on a plane tomorrow and see Claudine in person. Hug her and give her presents. Let her know someone else cares for her and is praying for her. And maybe one day that will happen. But for now, some of the luxuries I’ve been given will be used to help her and her family. It may sound silly, but I did finally find one of those great things that you can put a price tag on – HOPE. For $35 each month, I am sponsoring HOPE for Claudine. Because of me, she can go to school, have access to clean water, give money to her family, buy food, wear suitable clothes and yes, have a future. Some of these things may have only been dreams over a week ago. I am honored and overwhelmed to be a part of this process. I know it’s a process I chose, or maybe I didn’t, but it is so exciting to know that one person’s life could be drastically changed because I wrote a check once every thirty days. It was easy for me, but course-altering for her. And it connected me to this tiny, little soul a million miles away that will also change me. I instantly felt love, gratitude, protective, stewardship and so many other things the moment I submitted my sponsorship. So maybe I also gave myself a little hope; hope that in all the pain and suffering and injustice in the world, I have made it better. And the best part, you can, too.
If this touched your heart in some way, I’d ask you to take a look around http://www.worldvision.com. I think they have a lot of amazing things going on. And if you don’t have $35 each month, they have down to $20 to help end human trafficking and even smaller gifts like purchasing chickens for farms. So, whatever you can do, it’s enough. Small amounts add up. Cutting out one coffee a week or one lunch a month or whatever you decide, it all matters. But how can we, as educated Americans know about an injustice like this and do nothing?
You can no longer claim ignorance. You can only claim action. Find a path, whatever works best with your gifts and strengths, and walk in it. Sponsor some hope.