I have been blessed with the most incredible job. I am one of the founders and the administrator of three child sponsorship programs helping children in 5 different countries – Haiti, Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guatemala. Most days (and nights) find me at my computer working on endless lists of names – names that don’t roll easily off the tongue, but names that represent individual lives in crisis in some of the most difficult places on this earth. Some people would call these kinds of tasks “drudgery” – keeping track of names, places, ages, grades, payments and the like. But I view it differently. Each minute I spend doing these seemingly mundane tasks means that a child in poverty is receiving help and that’s what keeps me going. I don’t do it for the money – because I am an unpaid volunteer. And that suits me just fine. In fact, if I had to, I would pay to do this job. But the fact that I work as a volunteer means that 100% - yes, ALL of the sponsorship fee the sponsors pay goes directly to the child in need. No one who works for our organization collects a salary. We don’t own or rent any property or any shiny new vehicles (or any vehicles, in fact). We don’t take a portion of the sponsors’ money to cover our costs to run the program. Because that would mean taking money away from the kids – something we would never do. And we believe we have been blessed for making this unwavering commitment, never lacking what we need to be able to continue our work.
But I do have to admit that the best part of my job is when I go to visit the children. I have enjoyed the incredible blessing of visiting all these countries many times and have personally met each and every child in our programs. This is, by far, the best part! I have held their hands, kissed their cheeks, cried and laughed with them and been able to really make a difference in their lives. But the incredible thing is, I feel I’ve been changed more than they have through this experience. I’ve learned that the way we live in the United States is NOT real life for the majority of people in this world. For example, in Asia, Latin America and Africa, well over 500 million people are living in “absolute poverty”. “Nearly one in four people, 1.3 billion - a majority of humanity - live on less than $1 per day.” (UNICEF). Three billion of the world’s population lives on $2.00 a day. Four of the five countries in which we are working are among those with the highest child mortality rate in the world. But we get to do something about it! We CAN make a difference! And it really means something to me when I get to look into the faces of the children themselves. I can tell them that I am doing everything I can to get them the help they need. And I can put feet to my words by getting out there and telling everyone I can about the world’s forgotten children and by being diligent with the “drudgery” of keeping track of endless lists of names. Because I know each one of those names represents a precious life – a life I’ll do whatever I can to help.
So how can the readers of this blog help? The ways are endless. They can start by sponsoring a child. In Haiti, the cost to sponsor a child through our program is just $80 per year. They can visit our websites to learn about other ways they can help by doing things like donating a pig to an African woman in crisis or sponsoring a teacher in Guatemala to help pay their salary. And they can help spread the word about the children in poverty around the world who need our help. To learn more about my job, please visit one of our websites – www.hishandsforhaiti.org, www.hishandsforafrica.org or www.hishandsforguatemala.org. Now that you’ve read this, it’s up to you. What will you do to help?