Author and Financial Educator Stephen Parr, from Tauranga, has been sponsoring children from some of the world's neediest communities for over quarter of a century - and in 2016, he finally made the life-changing decision to visit his sponsored child, Thanojithan, in Sri Lanka.

"I've been a long time child sponsor for about 20 or 30 years, but it was only recently, back in 2014 that I discovered that ChildFund supported children in Sri Lanka.

"That really interested me because I happened to have been born there," Stephen said.

"I even visited the nursing home where I was actually born, and it was my first experience of visiting any children that I've been sponsoring along the way.

"I really didn't know what to expect, but it was a really great opportunity and I now know I've missed out by not doing this sort of thing earlier," Stephen said.

Mr Parr and his wife Pamela visited a school in the Sri Lankan region of Batticaloa

In the Batticaloa area, more than 1 in 4 children younger than 5 are underweight. However, through appropriate training and education, families and teachers are able to provide children access to nutritious, healthy food both at school and at home.

"Any parent anywhere wants the best for their children"

Mr Parr said he had planned to go back to Sri Lanka to visit Thanojithan .

He encouraged others who were interested to get involved.

"Kiwis are generous with their giving, and sometimes one of the downsides of wanting to give is everything seems remote, you don't know where the money is going. By visiting Thanojithan, it really brings it home to a face and the photograph. When I see his smile, I think, I've got to keep supporting him."

If visiting beautiful Sri Lanka sounds like the adventure of a lifetime to you, why not join the team for our Feed the Future trek in February 2018. You will not only experience the stunning beauty of Sri Lanka's countryside, you will be helping children facing malnutrition in Batticaloa. Hurry, places are limited! Click here for more information.

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