Child sponsorship: 'The most rewarding thing we do as a family' | ActionAid UK

Award-winning parenting blogger and mother of two, Penny Alexander, supports ActionAid by championing our work. Here she shares her experience of sponsoring a child in Pakistan and describes why sponsorship matters to her whole family.

Penny goes shopping for a Christmas tree with her family
Penny goes shopping for a Christmas tree with her family

We were busy preparing for Christmas over the weekend — here’s me and my kids with the tree we picked out. This time of year makes us all think about family. In our family there’s me, Mr A, G and L, and Max the dog. And also there’s H. We’ve never met H but we think of him as the sixth member of our family.

H’s picture is on the fridge and we think about him a lot. Especially when someone in the family is being selfish, greedy, or unappreciative. H lives in Chachro, in the southeast corner of Pakistan. We sponsor him through ActionAid, who work in over 40 countries around the world.

Sponsoring a child is so rewarding 

Sponsoring H has to be one of the most rewarding and humbling things we do as a family. He is just a little younger than my six-year-old son. He sends crayon pictures from time to time and tells us how he loves nature and likes to play with his family’s goat kids. He is jolly and popular he says, and looking at his photo I can see that.

Our sponsorship supports H’s whole community, so everyone benefits and the impact is sustained. I worry though, for the children around the world who ActionAid want to support, but who haven’t been sponsored yet.

This Christmas, ActionAid are focusing on six countries that are particularly in need right now: Afghanistan, MyanmarMalawi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)The Gambia, and Ghana.

My experience in Ghana

Having travelled to Ghana, I’ve seen first-hand how tough life can be and the incredible difference charities are making. I walked through the slums (pictured below), and met children who were in school learning, and women who were setting up their own businesses, so that they can build a better future for themselves.

Ghana slum by Penny Alexander

Because I’ve been supporting ActionAid through my blog for three years now, I have had a chance to really understand how sustainable and effective their work is.

Sometimes life gets in the way, it can seem a challenge just to look after our jobs, homes, ourselves, and our own children. I had hoped we would make time to write to H more often, but I remind myself that the important thing is that our sponsorship is helping H and his community. And that is better than not doing anything at all.

What’s your New Year’s resolution?

Writing to your sponsored child is optional, but our resolution in 2015 is to write to H more, or simply to draw for him. Could your resolution be to sponsor a child?

This Christmas, 2,700 children urgently need sponsors to give them the chance of a better future. If you are intrigued by the idea of sponsoring a child like H, please, please find out more about how it works, help spread the message about giving children a future and consider child sponsorship. It is such a brilliant thing to do.

 

You can read Penny’s blog here or follow her on Google+ and Twitter.