One of our newest members of staff Maria muses on how she’s found her first month at ChildFund New Zealand.

"Where have you been?"

By Maria Bautista, Programmes Coordinator

How does it feel to meet a 21 year old when half a century has passed you by? I find that after having worked in nearly 28 countries trying to get governments to do the right thing for their citizens, usually through some big donors, I haven’t come across anything like it. This 21 year old is cool, smart, exuding the confidence of youth brought up well, reflective, and all-together downright attractive! I felt wonder, you know the kind that makes you ask – how did we ever miss out on each other? Where have you been all along?

As I write this, it is exactly a month ago that I joined ChildFund New Zealand. I haven’t been here that long nor that much (working 3-day weeks for now) but this much I know: it is an organisation filled with good feeling because of the work it does—connecting caring New Zealanders with children in need from possibly the worst off places in the world. The work just rubs off on its staff. Everyone in ChildFund New Zealand is just so caught up and committed to getting children’s voices and future into the consciousness of every New Zealander (and the New Zealand government, too).

I came to an organisation abuzz with smart thoughts and goodwill. Reflecting on how it has been for me before this, how it was growing up in a small provincial town, with dreams of studying in the big city, I now think that maybe some child out there also has the same dreams.

It has been an amazing journey of a life for me, and my wanderings have brought me here to New Zealand. Where I came from and where I will be in my role as Programmes Coordinator with the remit of Africa, I can sense a promise. Perhaps, I can be a bridge between sponsors and their sponsored children, between the children’s and New Zealand’s culture, between the children’s realities and their future.

There is both wonder and promise being in ChildFund New Zealand. To describe the kind of work ChildFund and how it is for me now, is to use the words of one of my favourite poets, Rainer Maria Rilke:

“For one human being to love another human being, that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation.”

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