In 1996, Sharon couldn’t escape the ChildFund TV ads. After spotting them in an appliance shop window too, it was the final straw.
“I felt, then and there, that this message was aimed directly at me and I had to act on it. So I went home, rang ChildFund and inquired about sponsoring my first child.”
Sharon started sponsoring a child called Edwin who lived in Honduras. Edwin’s mother was raising him and his siblings in a one bedroom house. After hearing the house had a dirt floor, no running water and no latrine – Sharon knew she’d made the right decision.
“I knew I had done the right thing in sponsoring Edwin, and told my family that one day I would meet him.”
It was too late
The years passed and Sharon enjoyed sharing updates from Edwin with her family. Before she knew it, Edwin was 18 and due to be married, with a baby on the way.
When ChildFund let Sharon know that because Edwin was 18, he was no longer eligible to be sponsored, she was shocked.
“How could I have let those precious years slip away and not have found a way to get to Honduras to meet him?”
Doing things differently
Desperate to meet Edwin, Sharon contacted ChildFund to see if his new baby needed a sponsor. When the answer was ‘yes’, Sharon jumped at the opportunity to sponsor Edwin’s daughter, Saudy. Now she had another chance to meet the family.
Sharon didn’t want to make the same mistake. “I decided that history would not repeat itself. So in March 2016 I set the wheels in motion to get to Honduras.”
Fast forward to April 2017 and Sharon finally travelled to Honduras to meet Edwin and his family.
"Meeting my Honduran family"
After a two hour drive down rutted dirt roads, Sharon received a warm welcome at her destination. “Everyone had gone all out to welcome us with photos, handmade posters, balloons and a guard of honour of young children waving paper flags.”
As she greeted the smiling children, she looked up and finally, saw her Honduran family. Edwin, Saudy, and his mother Flor were waiting to meet her.
“It was a wonderful, tearful, emotional moment - for all of us. I could feel through the hugs that Edwin's family were as pleased to meet me as I was to meet them.”
“I was so proud of the man Edwin had grown up to be. His mother has done a wonderful job of raising him.”
Sponsoring a child
Sharon’s message to anyone sponsoring a child is clear: “If you have the slightest inkling that you may like to meet your sponsored child, then I recommend you do it - now - before it's too late.”
“If you ever have any doubts as to whether you are really making a difference, believe me, you are.”
“Edwin's mothers words will stay with me forever: "I have waited a very long time to meet you. I always prayed that you would come.””
Sharon intends to return to Honduras to visit the family again, and this time she hopes it will be sooner than 21 years!
If you’d like to make a difference to a child’s life, find out how to sponsor a child.