Wednesday, November 14, 2007

sweetheart like you

Pictured is our dear wee laddie that we sponsor in China, whom we shall call ‘John’.

John lives with his family in the south-western province of Yunnan, a far-flung area of the People’s Republic that shares a frontier with Burma/Myanmar, Tibet, Laos and Vietnam. John and his family belong to one of around two dozen ‘nations’, or language groups, in that province.

John is going on nine years old, enjoys singing, and his favourite subject at school is language. We look forward to visiting someday and hearing him sing.

His health is thankfully quite good, despite malnourishment and preventable disease being regrettably endemic risks to children’s health in such parts of the world.

He’s probably just a little under optimum bmi for a boy of his age, which would not be at all unusual. My niece, on perusing John’s latest annual progress report, expressed surprise at his weight relative to her strappingly healthy 3 year old.

I said something in reply about ‘developing’ countries, suggesting that’s why programs such as World Vision’s child sponsorship are so essential.

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Anonymous Kathy said...

Yes, Jacob, programs such as child sponsorship through World Vision are very essential.
My thoughtful other half, sponsored his first child in his early twenties.
A very unselfish unassumming kind of bloke.
Together we are onto a third.

It was certainly one of many an admirable quality that attracted me to him!

14/11/07 9:28 PM  
Blogger Father Park said...

Not to be rude, but, what does it cost??

On any other blog this might be described as a comfort balnket.

I know you've alluded to it before a couple of times. Let me just observe that you are a good man Jacob.

As are you Kath...and your very good man.

14/11/07 10:46 PM  
Blogger Jacob A. Stam said...

No, you're too kind, Father Park.

The cost is $43 per month. I had to check the account statements, as there was a rise recently, but forgot by how much.

The child sponsorship model is one that's actually used by several aid agencies, such as Plan International. The way it works is that your money doesn't actually go directly to your sponsored child, but rather goes to a community project in the given country. The money goes towards health, educational and other infrastructure projects that benefit the community. Your sponsored child and his/her family is a beneficiary of the community project.

A sponsor's relationship with a sponsored child is really only symbolic, a way of personalising the aid relationship with the community. A sponsor may correspond with (and even visit) their sponsored child, subject to some commonsense constraints. This kind of contact can be engaging particularly for younger members of the sponsor's household.

There's a downside however. We actually began sponsoring a laddie in Senegal some years ago and got to know him by correspondence. Then one day he told us in a letter that his father passed away.

The tenuousness of the relationship with 'your child' was brought home to us when WV advised us in a letter that the lad, with his family, had left the community project to another part of the country. So to this day we have no way of knowing about his situation and welfare. And worse, we always have to wonder about him when we read news reports from Senegal about, for instance, abuses against 'migrant children' and such.

Them's the breaks, I guess, but nevertheless I've no doubt that the sponsorship program is eminently worth supporting. We're hoping that we'll have a better run with John, and that his community won't, say, be displaced by the building of another megadam.

15/11/07 9:09 AM  

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