Throughout our months sponsoring our World Vision children, we have come to understand that the program is not just about the kids – it also helps the community. Over these past several days, we have seen this circle of community continues in times of need. It truly does take a village to encourage, survive and thrive.
Meet Sylvia. She lives near the slums and wanted to help within her community so she got involved. Sylvia began teaching and after many years was sent to college with help from World Vision. She now has a degree and is a certified teacher in her community.
Sylvia’s daughters were sponsored children. Her grandson is now a sponsored child.
This group of ladies work at the goat farm. It is their hope to provide cheese and milk to those in their community. They were so selfless and passionate about providing for their community.
This group of ladies are entrepreneurs but only by the passing on the knowledge from their mentors. They had beautiful items that they sew. They are the benefit from World Vision’s Micro-Loan program. The Micro-Loan program is separate from the child sponsorship program that many of their children are a part of. However, it is because of having an ADP (in their area) that supports children that women can get these loans.
Women sharing knowledge = Helping other women learn a trade = Women helping other women provide a better future for their kids. I also loved that they are work at home mommas! They balance kids and work at home the same way we do in the US too (squeeze it in during naps and at bedtime)!
These ladies (and men) worked in the local garden to help provide for their community. They saw a need to have healthy foods to feed their families. They also saw this as an opportunity to provide an income. They work in this garden around 4 hours each day. In the sweltering sun and heat. They were so proud of their work, and rightly so. The dish of veggies they prepared for us were delicious. The seasoning of olive oil, lemon and salt tasted so fresh. I will be trying this at home!
We have seen Lydia at work these past few days. She has passion that is contagious. We couldn’t understand her words, but we understood the authority in her words. We felt her love for the kids and parents affected by HIV/Aids. Lydia also shares this same virus, but she is not sitting down and feeling sorrow. NO WAY! She is standing up for others affected, empowering them with information and providing emotional support. Everyone who referenced Lydia called her friend, not a World Vision employee.
I can’t help but translate this “village” mentality to how I feel led to show God’s love. I am called to be a light in the darkness. That’s not always easy. As a matter of fact, I find it quite challenging on most days. But, my challenges aren’t the same as these:
How will I find work to provide for my family?
How will I feed my children?
How will I raise my children as a single mother?
Where will I go when my house has been overtaken by water?
How will society treat me when they learn that my children or I am infected with HIV/Aids?
While these Dominican families have acknowledged having these questions, they have been very firm in their praise for God. It’s easy for me to sing praises when my life is going great. It’s not fun to praise Him when trials come. No trial I have been through is anywhere near as tragic as those we have heard this week.
World Vision offers so much through Child Sponsorship. This monthly donation offers financial support, emotional encouragement and information for a child and their family. However, the community also reaps the rewards. The entire community is impacted when a new school is built. And, guess what? There is now a teacher to teach in that school because someone like Sylvia gave her time.
It’s a circle with World Vision in the center of all of it: see a need, find a resource, foster development and build a better world for children. It’s not just fancy words in a tag line. It’s the truth! We have witnessed this with our very eyes. I am inspired to do more. My first step started with sponsoring a child…what will yours be?