Kathy McKay’s last day in Nairobi and in Kenya ended on a high note when she met George, a former ChildFund sponsored child. Here she writes about meeting George and shares his thoughts on what being sponsored meant for him.
George - former sponsored childGeorge grew up in Nairobi. Sadly his parents died when he was very young. He was placed in a children’s home because his grandmother couldn’t afford to look after him. Thankfully ChildFund enrolled George in a sponsorship programme.
“If I had not been enrolled I wouldn’t have been educated. The frequent visiting and support helped to keep me going. Without ChildFund I would have ended up on the street.”
It is thanks to ChildFund that George was able to receive a good education. George attended college and trained in Social Work and HIV counselling and testing.
Now George works as an HIV counsellor and tester. He helps to set up support groups and educate the community. Giving back to the community is important to George and is something he learnt from ChildFund.
“My sponsor inspired me, she wrote and we exchanged a lot of letters. When I wrote to her it was like speaking to my mother. The bond we had is beyond explanation. If ever I felt down I knew I had someone to turn to – my sponsored mother.”
At 18 George was ready to leave the sponsorship programme. In his final letter to his sponsor he wrote to say, “I am a man and can now be responsible for myself – thank you.”
It was painful for George to say goodbye as he was losing a relationship that he treasured. But it had to happen so another child could be supported to grow.
“I asked my sponsor to sponsor another child.”
George is now married with three children. He feels content, that his life is whole. His stepdaughter is 10 years old, Michael is three years old and Inez, his first born child is six. Inez is named after his former sponsor.
George wanted to tell New Zealanders:
“Sponsorship is not in vain, it has a result. I am useful, I am fruitful. I owe my life to my sponsors and what they gave me. They made me what I am. I am the result of sponsorship. I really appreciate ChildFund for making a positive change in my life.”
It was a privilege to meet George and see the long term impact sponsorship can have on a child. The difference of knowing someone cares for you across the world is very powerful. As I leave Kenya I know there are many more children, like George, whose lives will change because of the support of New Zealanders back home.