Compassion is a global child sponsorship organization with over 1.5 million children now under its care. Our commitment was and remains to add another sponsored child each time we complete the sale of a property through MSB. We now have quite a substantial “family” of kids around the world, however, due to the historic and French language links with Haiti we have concentrated on this country, especially since the catastrophic earthquake on 12 January 2010.
One of the core values of the child sponsorship program is regular letter writing to each of the kids. This establishes relationship directly with the child and offers an opportunity to encourage them as they grow up. So, we have been writing now to some of these kids for over seven years, sharing our lives and trying to get a window into theirs. Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw and experienced.
Only 1% of sponsors ever visit their children and since there has never been a group that has visited from France before, we decided that the time had come to invest our vacation time at the end of February 2015 in something more worthy that suntan lotion.
Our group was 12 in number and consisted of Bordeaux vineyard owners and wine makers as well as a few of our teenagers whom we hoped would be as impacted as the adults. Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, so it was logical not only to have some kids there under MSB sponsorship but to visit them too while we were on the island. In all we have 19 children on the island between the two countries with the majority in Haiti.
It is important that the letter writing be sincere and regular so as our numbers have increased we have sponsored other programs that do not require letter writing.
Therefore we have been involved in water purification programs but also the child survival program where we have over 80 babies and as the name suggests the program helps new mothers with the first 3 years of a child’s life.
It was a very full two weeks and consisted of both home visits to our children’s families as well as inviting them to our accommodation where we could create a memorable day together around food, games and swimming.
We also visited the offices of Compassion International themselves and met the extraordinary staff that give of their lives so generously for these children. Finally and really one of the highlights was to visit the young mothers and their little ones in the child survival program.
It was a privilege to be there and, I admit, it was tempting to think that we were the ones doing the giving. But after a few days with these children it became clear that it was us who left with the greatest gift of all – a sense that we are a part of something much bigger and more important that just this little corner of Bordeaux where we live.
We hope that through this trip we can give these kids a voice and encourage those in our sphere of influence to sponsor a child themselves – our goal is that this trip will stimulate others to sponsor another 100 kids. Join the adventure www.Compassion.com