‘Etched in your memory forever’ – first meeting with sponsored child – Cyprus Mail

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Child sponsors who reflected on meeting the children they have been supporting in Kenya said they are deeply grateful for their life-changing experience.

ActionAid, the charity organisation fighting poverty, shared the stories of nine Cypriot child sponsors who met their sponsorship children on the recent solidarity trip to Kenya. Most highlighted the emotions and connections formed during these encounters.

Although usually relationships take time and regular contact to build and become strong, this might not be the case with child sponsorship.

The process starts somewhat formally: as a sponsor, you fill out a form waiting to connect with a child living in one of ActionAid’s communities. The journey begins with the first letter and the photo of the child. After that, sponsors receive biannually news and have the freedom to write back if they like. The feelings of solidarity can grow as you watch the child grow and develop.

“While the notion of meeting in person might have crossed your mind, nothing truly prepares you for the profound emotions that unfold in such moments,” ActionAid in Cyprus said.

“There are no words, no words to describe the moment of meeting my sponsor child Lucy,” Theoni, a child sponsor with the charity said.

Unique moments, shocking moments, full of love and emotion. I was looking at her, she was looking at me with her bright gaze and her warm smile, and I couldn’t believe that what I was living was real. We hugged and the ‘happy, happy’ he whispered to me is a word I will never forget!”

When asked about their experiences, sponsors often highlight the difficulty of describing it, perhaps because it really is something unprecedented and unexpected.

“I believe that words are not enough to describe what I experienced, but if I had to say one word, it would be ‘unique’, because what you feel is so unique that you will never feel it again in your life,” said Minas, who met Raymond.

The same difficulty is confirmed by Stephanie when she met her sponsored child, Yusuf.

feature gina stephanie and yusuf
Stephanie and Yusuf

“How can you explain, based on logic and what you have lived until then, the intense feeling of emotion you feel, meeting a child you have never seen before in your life? Once you look at them and give them a hug?”

Andriana said she was dreaming of the moment she would meet Bryan since becoming a child sponsor: “From the first day of child sponsorship, meeting your child is a lifelong dream and I am truly grateful that I lived it and I will never forget it.”

feature gina minas and raymond
Minas and Raymond

Another child sponsor, Panos said: “It is very touching to meet and socialise with your sponsor child, whom until now you have known only through photographs and letters and this experience, apart from being unprecedented for me, was one of those that are etched in your memory forever.”

After meeting the sponsor child, it is challenging to determine who contributes more, the sponsor or the child. Andria, who met nine-year-old Jemima, already has the answer. “Thank you Jemima, or ‘asante sanna’, for giving me a reason to still insist that the world is beautiful!”

ActionAid is an independent, international organisation fighting against poverty and injustice in Greece and around the world. To date, the organisation operates in more than 45 countries, educating individuals and communities to rely on their own strengths. Among their values is justice for everyone, solidarity and acceptance of diversity.

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