Two years ago, in the aftermath of the earthquake, Paul Murray, a machine operator from Warrington, sponsored Napthalie, a little girl in Haiti. As a sixtieth birthday present to himself, he decided to go out and meet her.
“I had always donated to charities, but then the earthquake happened and I turned 60. I wanted to do something long-term, so I decided to sponsor a girl in Haiti. The trip to meet my sponsored child was a birthday present to myself.”
“It was a real shock to see the devastation in Port au Prince. Some roads are cleared and others are not — people have nothing yet seem to battle on. It was the most humbling experience of my life.
“When we arrived, we were greeted by the entire village. I'd brought a big suitcase full of school sets; folders, pencil case, pencils, pens, eraser, balloons and exercise books – 102 in total! A friend from work’s daughter (12 years old) had saved up from her pocket money to buy pencils to give to Napthalie and the other children at her school. She’d bought 80 pencils with her pocket money.
“Being there, I could grasp the scale of the disaster and there’s definitely still a lot to do. I also got a sense of the trauma that the earthquake had caused and was wondering how on earth they were coping.
“My sponsored child, Napthalie, had written her own greeting song for me. She and the other children did a little show — dancing and singing — to welcome me. The whole village had turned out and they gave me gifts of fruits. There must have been at least 100 kids and 200 adults there. It was quite overwhelming for me — I wasn’t expecting quite such a welcome! They made such a fuss of me — I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!”
In Haiti, child sponsorship is providing the kind of long-term help that people really need to rebuild their country