“As I chatted with one of the teachers I felt a little person hug my leg! I looked down into the shy, smiling face of the young girl whom a House Group in my church sponsors through Global Care. She is older than the photo we have, but her smile is the same – bright, generous, joyful.
She showed us her classroom, full of pictures and examples of the children’s work. It had so much in common with a classroom back in the UK, a vibrant and engaging place to learn. She showed us some of her work 96%, 98% … suddenly she searches through the pile and pulls out another piece of work – 100% with a big star! She proudly holds this whilst we take a photo. She is delighted with her hard work and achievement. I ask her what she wants to be when she is older. “A teacher” she replies.
At the end of our time with her, I ask her what she will do today, the first day of school holidays. Does she have chores to do, will she play with her friends? Her answer is simple and stark “I don’t have any toys to play with.”
In that moment the impact of child sponsorship came vividly to life for me.
Because of sponsorship this bright, hardworking, fun loving child who lives in one of the slums of Kampala and who doesn’t have any toys – this child is able to go to school. She is certain of a meal each school day. She is given the opportunity to learn and to dream. Without sponsorship her mother wouldn’t be able to afford the cost of the school uniform. Without the uniform this girl with 100% wouldn’t be able to attend school. Without attending school all the potential and love of learning this girl has would lie dormant, unreached. Child sponsorship gives her the opportunity to work hard and achieve her dream to be a teacher, a future far beyond anything her parents would have dared to dream for her.
I asked one of the team at the Global Care Centre in Soroti if they are ever overwhelmed by the need, by the number of children who can’t go to school unless there is financial help. “Yes regularly”, he replied, “but when I am, I look at the child in front of me and act to make a difference to them.”
During our visit I was reminded over and again of Jesus’ talking with his disciples shortly before he died. “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison and visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters, you did for me.” Matt 25:37-40.
Sandra Cobbin, Uganda team volunteer