With World Vision’s ‘help­ing hands’

Vacations & Travel - - Global village - By Rama Gaind

Mother Teresa’s prophetic words about hu­man­ity res­onate a ve­rac­ity that’s mem­o­rable: “Lone­li­ness and the feel­ing of be­ing un­wanted is the most ter­ri­ble poverty.” Over­com­ing poverty, however, is not a ges­ture of char­ity. In fact, Nel­son Man­dela felt

‘it is the pro­tec­tion of a fun­da­men­tal hu­man right, the right to dig­nity and a de­cent life’.

With that goal in sight, I was priv­i­leged to wit­ness, first-hand, the pos­i­tive im­pact of ‘a few help­ing hands’ at two ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties in In­dia. As a spon­sor for more than a decade, I ob­served some of the af­fir­ma­tive out­comes that have al­lowed World Vision Australia to work dili­gently to elim­i­nate poverty and its causes around the globe.

To achieve change and at­tain self-es­teem is no mean feat. Never un­der­es­ti­mate the difference you can make in the lives of oth­ers. As a World Vision spon­sor, I’ve re­alised the ex­tent to which I am a “change-maker”. You just have to care, be com­pas­sion­ate and be mu­nif­i­cent. If each and ev­ery one of us does that, then to­gether we can bring about a change and con­trib­ute to mak­ing things bet­ter for peo­ple in need all over the globe.

World Vision is a com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion that provides short-term and long-term as­sis­tance to 100 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide (in­clud­ing 2.4 mil­lion chil­dren).

More than 45,000 staff work in 96 coun­tries. It’s en­light­en­ing to learn 81.4 per cent of ev­ery dol­lar do­nated goes to field pro­grams and ad­vo­cacy work.

Hav­ing spon­sored two chil­dren in In­dia – a girl and a boy – for more than 10 years, I met them for the first time just be­fore Di­wali (In­dian Fes­ti­val of Lights) late last year. I spent some time not only with Mo­hini Man­gal, 15, and Re­han Ima­mudin, 10, but also met their fam­i­lies, friends and mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ties in which they live – in Jaipur. They were all happy and thriv­ing in their en­vi­ron­ment! I felt their over­whelm­ing sense of love, feel­ing wanted with a dy­namic sense of pur­pose, be­ing cared for, and above all, not be­ing for­got­ten.

Even at her young age, Mo­hini is a home­maker who loves sewing. Re­han is stu­dious and is keen about sports. Over the years, I’ve main­tained con­tact with them through school re­ports and get­ting up­dates on var­i­ous com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment projects in their region.

Spend­ing the day with pro­gram man­ager of World Vision in Jaipur Dr Josiah Daniel, and spon­sor­ship ef­fec­tive­ness co-or­di­na­tor Nitin Lall, was a bonus. They spoke about the var­i­ous eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance and ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams and the ben­e­fits experienced by fam­i­lies and the local com­mu­nity. Their in­sight re­vealed how World Vision worked to pro­vide the tools and re­sources to cre­ate more eq­ui­table so­ci­eties for chil­dren so they can pros­per and have a bet­ter fu­ture.

One of the most ef­fec­tive and re­ward­ing ways to give chil­dren in hard­ship a bet­ter fu­ture is with child spon­sor­ship. Through your spon­sor­ship jour­ney, you can change lives for just $48 per month. Dr Daniel says the pres­ence of World Vision in the com­mu­ni­ties has “cre­ated safer and more se­cure en­vi­ron­ments for chil­dren in their homes and vil­lages which has en­abled them to thrive”.

WOR­THY AS­SIS­TANCE

World Vision’s spon­sor visit con­sul­tant in Mel­bourne Emma Whitty says the or­gan­i­sa­tion has en­gaged peo­ple to work to­wards elim­i­nat­ing poverty and its causes for five decades.

“We work to achieve trans­for­ma­tion,” says Whitty. “We do this through re­lief and de­vel­op­ment, pol­icy ad­vo­cacy and change, col­lab­o­ra­tion, ed­u­ca­tion about poverty, and em­pha­sis on per­sonal growth, so­cial jus­tice and spir­i­tual val­ues.”

Whitty elab­o­rated on the vast range of sup­port and re­sources pro­vided for the chil­dren. From im­mu­ni­sa­tions in early life, to pri­mary and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion – all chil­dren in the com­mu­nity ben­e­fit from im­proved health care, ed­u­ca­tion, water san­i­ta­tion and food.

“We also im­prove in­fra­struc­ture in com­mu­ni­ties so that par­ents have bet­ter job op­por­tu­ni­ties or travel less to ob­tain water,” Emma said. “Ad­vo­cacy and em­pow­er­ment is also a big fo­cus. We have es­tab­lished youth par­lia­ments in many com­mu­ni­ties so that chil­dren also have a say in the run­ning of their en­vi­ron­ments while cre­at­ing fu­ture lead­ers. In emer­gency sit­u­a­tions the ba­sics of sur­vival and sup­port are pro­vided [food, shel­ter, cloth­ing, psy­choso­cial sup­port].”

“Our vision is for chil­dren to ex­pe­ri­ence life in all its full­ness and it’s what mo­ti­vates us all to come to work ev­ery day. Ul­ti­mately, our aim is to pro­vide the tools and frame­works so that the com­mu­ni­ties are self­sus­tain­able.”

Whitty de­scribed what it was like for both Mo­hini and Re­han to meet their spon­sor.

“Meet­ing you – their spon­sor – was an ex­cit­ing and mo­ti­vat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Our col­leagues who work in the com­mu­ni­ties, who fa­cil­i­tate the vis­its, do an in­cred­i­ble job of pre­par­ing the chil­dren and fam­i­lies for the visit. Ul­ti­mately the pur­pose of the visit is for the sup­porter to learn from their spon­sored child, fam­ily and com­mu­nity visit.”

The fu­ture of World Vision looks promis­ing with the first fe­male

CEO. Claire Rogers has a proven track record of strate­gis­ing and de­liv­er­ing ma­jor change ini­tia­tives. Rogers un­der­stands the chal­lenges fac­ing not-for-prof­its as they adapt to the new econ­omy.

Whitty de­scribed Rogers as “def­i­nitely a great as­set … a prag­matic op­ti­mist who sees the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion as an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity to reach new gen­er­a­tions who want to fight global poverty”.

In the light of what Ma­hatma Gandhi es­poused – “In a gen­tle way, you can shake the world” – I know I have made a difference, in some small way.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Read­ers can as­sist in a number of ways: Spon­sor a child, sup­port Child Res­cue, help those flee­ing Mo­sul or Syria or help fam­i­lies from South Su­dan. World Vision: 13-32-40; world­vi­sion.com.au

Left: Group of chil­dren in the World Vision’s com­mu­nity in Jaipur.

Be­low left: A highly net­worked in­flu­encer, Claire Rogers, brings finely honed com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ne­go­ti­a­tion skills. Right: Sha­hana loves mak­ing ban­gles … thanks to a World Vision de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance pro­gram in Jaipur, In­dia.

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