13 March 2018

Visiting your sponsored child: Mark meeting Thuy in Vietnam

Do you have a sponsored child? Would like to visit them in their hometown? Read about Mark's experience, meeting his sponsored child for the first time.
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Do you sponsor a child with ChildFund New Zealand? Do you know that one of the many benefits of sponsoring a child with us is that you can visit them in their hometown? Read more about one of our child sponsors, Mark, and his incredible experience visiting his sponsored child, Thuy, in Vietnam.

Life-changing trip of child sponsor, Mark

The trip was magical in regards to experiencing another culture and most importantly meeting the child we sponsor. Meeting Thuy and her family is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. She was everything that I expected.

I have sponsored children for many years, maybe close to 30 years. My last child (Francisco) through ChildFund was in Brazil and I spent many years (10 – 15) corresponding and unfortunately never met with him or his family. My wife and I have another child we sponsor and other ventures we assist with in Cambodia, China and Kenya but have never taken the time to meet with or venture to any countries to see the work first-hand.

The decision to travel to Vietnam was an easy one. I had only been sponsoring Thuy for a short time, in fact, less than a year but I wanted to make the trip, especially since I never made it to Brazil. My wife and I bonded so much with Thuy and her family. It was very comfortable. With me being over 2 metres tall it was a bit of a surprise for Thuy but we talked (via a translator), she was very gracious and her family was so generous. The time we spent with them was short but very worthwhile and so much more than I could have hoped for. There was a bond between us.

My wife and I will always have Thuy in our heart and wish to provide her with a better future and education. If she wishes to study at university or whatever she decides to do, it would be a privilege to help with this. Thuy has dreams and she may wish to be a farmer like her mother and grandmother or she may wish to do something different, and that is OK. If she wants different I would like to help her so she can afford studies and to further herself and her community. We write often and soon I will be gifting her and her family some money for her birthday and Christmas combined. It would be good to also assist with something that benefits her community.

Another thing I found fascinating was my “Western” thinking was challenged. I felt that by going there I would be able to provide, rescue or influence. For example, I felt that if they had only one buffalo and couldn’t afford another I was going to get in touch with someone in the next city and get a truck of 30 dropped off….or chickens…you need more ….here is 50, that sort of thing. This is not how it works and would not be as useful as donating to a programme through ChildFund where the needs of many are catered for.

The quality of the organisation from ChildFund New Zealand and Vietnam were incredible. The representatives from ChildFund Vietnam are the most humble and genuine people you could ever wish to meet and have the best intentions for the children and communities at heart. We had the most amazing driver and translator/representative from the Hanoi office. They accompanied my wife and me all the way and we were very grateful for their passion and dedication. They introduced us to two ChildFund officers on the way to our sponsor child Thuy and at all times we were most welcome and accepted. We were blown away by the passion all of the staff have. They are a super dedicated and caring group of people with the best interests of ChildFund at heart. There was no sign of wastage or opulence and ChildFund sponsors throughout New Zealand can rest assure that ChildFund are amazing stewards of their donations and generosity. They run an honest programme with 100% integrity. Well done.

My photos are of a water tap that has been funded by ChildFund (it meant so very much and is being rolled out to the rest of the village). The local Chairman is standing around proud as punch. Also, a preschool funded by ChildFund and the lovely, very young children who are so grateful and appreciative for it. Some of the children, under 5, walk 2 hours to school from their hill villages. Wow, what it must be like to appreciate learning that much. 

Thank you ChildFund for the amazing work, the generosity, kind heart and the wonderful work you do.

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about organising a once in a lifetime trip to visit your sponsored child, please get in touch with our friendly team by calling 0800 808 822. 

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