When we started with Aspen Heights, we were given the option to sponsor a child. In doing so we would pay half and the company would pay half of the sponsorship every month; pretty good deal. “By sponsoring a child, you will be providing them with an education and make a huge impact in their lives.” This is what we were told, but I questioned where our money would really go, would we really be making that big of an impact or helping the child we sponsored?
In December, I chose mine amongst the numerous kids on Africa New Life’s Website. It was his smile, and his dream of being a teacher that caught me. I thought, all I have to do is give up eating out one day each month and I will be helping this child in some way; hopefully.
Today, I met Ethiene. I was held on to tighter then I have ever been held in my life and saw love in a child’s eyes that I have never seen. I made the right choice. Since we began this trip, we have been meeting the children that Aspen Heights employees sponsor at their schools and have had the blessing of visiting homes of the children on this trip. We have been interviewing them and asking what they want to tell their sponsors back home; quite time consuming considering nearly every full time employee in the company sponsors a child, but overwhelmingly heart warming. It is easy to believe that when you donate money it will go directly to the company, or when you send a gift it will not make it to the child, or the family will not really care that their child is sponsored; wrong.
These thoughts were first disproved with a sponsor child interview. “What do you want to tell you sponsor?” Jacob asked. ” I want to tell my sponsor thank you very much for the books, thank you for the food you provide me every day, thank you for paying for school, thank you for my uniform, and thank you for changing my life. I love you.” Hearing this roll of the lips of a five year old will change your life. What we are doing here is real.
As we stepped inside the homes of the sponsor children we were greeted with prayers, thanks, hugs, and tears. Mothers thanking us for changing their lives and saying that we are sent from God. Continuously we thanked them for inviting us into their home, resulting in hands shielding faces of embarrassment and the words filled with laughter “why are you thanking me, I did not give you anything; next time I will at least feed you.” The truth is, we do not feel like we are doing much by giving up forty dollars a month. In reality, we have each taken food to our sponsor children that will last them three months. The cost? Fifty Dollars.
The way Africa New Life works, is by running schools in multiple villages in Rwanda, in which the goal is to have all children sponsored. Sponsorship pays for their tuition, uniform, books, three meals a day, and so much more. It literally changes the lives of these children and helps provide them with an education, resulting in jobs, and the rebuilding of a country. There is only one school now run by ANL in which not every child is sponsored; KageyoB. That is where Ethiene is from; my sponsor child. He will get one meal a day and eventually a uniform, three meals, books, and more. He will learn English, and will become a teacher, he will help change Rwanda; because I sponsored him.
There are so many doubts when one makes this decision or hears about a company that sponsors children; like Aspen Heights. Doubts that it is for marketing or that we are not really making a difference, but the children and families will tell you otherwise. Ethiene showed me otherwise. Our sponsorships are real, this is love, and there is no reason not to help.