Child Sponsor Testimonials from Africa

Here you can read child sponsorship testimonials from supporters who sponsor children in Africa:

Child sponsorship in Africa A Visit to SOS Children's Village Kitwe, Zambia

Child sponsor Pat Pringle; from Lewes East Sussex, who sponsors in Zambia, tells us about her visit to her sponsored child.

"I have just got back from Zambia after another holiday travelling in this wonderful country which I first visited eighteen months ago. My first trip made me very aware of the huge problems there caused by poverty and HIV/AIDS and I very much wanted to do something to help. After quite a bit of research on charities I decided to sponsor a child through SOS, nominating their new village in Kitwe, and asking for a child aged under five. Visiting this village and meeting my child, George, was wonderful.

Two SOS staff, Reuben and Mary, showed us round the village and answered all our questions. Everything we saw and heard confirmed what a good choice I had made. The children were obviously loved, cared for and prepared for adult life. The village also benefits the local community by sharing its medical facilities and a school.

At three years old George is the youngest child not only in his family, but also in the village. I recognised him at once from his Christmas photo. He was delightfully shy and wide-eyed as his lovely SOS mother, with children and grandchildren of her own, held him close and told me all about life in the village. "He won't stop talking when you've gone," she said. The older children in the house had more to say, and we were impressed with their polite confidence. They proudly showed us artwork and school awards. The house really felt like a home with a warm family atmosphere, and now I can picture George there.

It's very pleasing to see a charity operate so effectively, without hordes of foreign aid workers, directly reaching its beneficiaries and really making a difference."

CIMG7828A visit to SOS Children's Villages Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

In October 2008 Jette Hansen and her husband had the opportunity to visit their sponsored child, Hayat Ali, in the SOS Children’s Village in Bahir Dar in Ethiopia.

Here she tells us about their experience:

"It was such an amazing experience and hard to describe our emotions when we finally met her, after having ‘known’ her for 7 years. She lives with her ‘family’ of 1 Village ‘mother’, 5 ‘brothers’ and 4 ‘sisters’ one of who is her real sister. On the front door was a ‘Welcome to Hayat’s house’ poster.

We had the most fantastic reception and were shown round the house and garden. The children speak English very well and they were able to show us round. Hayat - being the youngest in the family - sleeps with her ‘mother’ but soon they will have a new baby arriving so Hayat will have to move into the big girls’ bedroom, which she is very proud of. Every child has their personal photo album and Hayat proudly showed us hers. Half way through the album were photos of my husband and I, which we sent her years ago. It was so touching. All the cards we have sent over the years were on display around the house and she was even wearing the hairclips we got for her birthday. She was very shy at first, but eventually she took our hands and showed us round. She really is the most beautiful little girl you can imagine.

Hayat’s family had prepared a delicious Ethiopian lunch (injera) for us and we were treated to a full coffee ceremony where the floor is covered with flowers and straw, the coffee beans roasted in the frying pan before being crushed. Absolutely delicious.

The children showed us how they tended the garden themselves, grew mango and papaya fruits from seeds and it looked very beautiful.

The village manager - Ababa - sat down with us and explained in detail the whole concept about the SOS Children’s Village. She is a very caring and loving person and it was clear that the children respect and love her. We were a group of 7 (all Danish friends) and we had asked everybody to please bring some stationary for the Village school. We had a whole suitcase in the end and they were very pleased. Two of our friends will be contacting the SOS office in Denmark regarding sponsorship so it was also a very good PR exercise.

My husband and I now know that our sponsorship money do make a difference to children’s lives. A big thank you to everybody for all your hard work."

Sponsor a childA visit to SOS Children's Village Nairobi

Child sponsor Fiona Stevens from London explains why she chose to sponsor a child with SOS Children - and has even visited her sponsored child in 2008.

"I started sponsoring Brian two years ago after I had enjoyed 3 amazing holidays in East Africa and wanted to do something to help a child in Kenya, one of my favourite countries. I chose to sponsor a child at the Nairobi village in the hopes that I would be able to visit him or her easily on my next holiday to the area. Brian was chosen for me by SOS and I have been touch with him via letters and parcels ever since.

I was due to travel to Kenya with my parents in January of this year but sadly had to postpone our trip because of the troubles there after the election. We were delighted to finally be able to go this summer instead and arranged a visit to the village with the help of SOS staff.

I was very impressed with the children’s village - there is a nice play area in the middle of the family houses, a large vegetable garden and playing field. The village also has its own pigs, chickens and rabbits.

We had a wonderful time meeting Brian, his eight siblings and his mother. All of the children seemed well cared for and were friendly and polite despite being very over-excited with our gifts! They particularly loved playing with our digital cameras, squealing in delight at the results. We also had a good attempt at a football card game of Top Trumps!

Brian’s mother insisted that we stay for a delicious but simple lunch of rice, beans and chapatti which she had cooked over a fire outside as she had no gas at the time and we were very moved by her generosity and hospitality.

When it was time to leave, the children accompanied us to the car, holding our hands and waved us off. I am already planning my Christmas gifts now that I have met all the children and very much hope to be able to visit again before too long."


Sponsor a child GambiaA Happy Experience in The Gambia

SOS Children sponsors, David and Anne Stranack visited the SOS Children's Village Bakoteh, Gambia in March 2008. David shares their experience of visiting their sponsored child.

"Kanny Sowe walked slowly across the playground of her nursery school to meet me for the first time - very shy, but absolutely charming.

Kanny is four years old and lives in the SOS Children’s village at Bakoteh in The Gambia. She is the orphan I sponsor.

My wife and I first visited Bakoteh a couple of years ago. I had become a bit involved with SOS’s work in the UK, and having decided to try The Gambia as a new holiday experience, it seemed a good idea to visit the Bakoteh village. It was a truly amazing experience. We were so impressed by what we saw that I immediately wanted to contribute to the care of one of the children.

Our offer of sponsorship was handled efficiently by SOS’s Cambridge office, and I soon learnt that Kanny had been selected to be my ‘adopted’ orphan.

So it was this year, when we visited Bakoteh again, that we were able to meet Kanny for the first time. We were soon whisked off to visit her home - one of several purpose built houses in the village where over a hundred orphaned and abandoned children are being cared for and brought up in a loving environment, which is just about as close as you can get to that of a natural family. Each of the eleven houses in the village is a family home, presided over by a ‘mother’ and an ‘aunt’. These ladies are specially trained for their roles by SOS, and have eight to ten children, of assorted ages, in their care.

The atmosphere in Kanny’s home was just delightful - noisy and exuberant, just as you would expect with any young family around you. The book we had brought as a present for Kanny, which made animal noises when pressed, was a great success with everyone, and the packets of sweets for Kanny’s siblings were surreptitiously handed over to ‘Mum’ for later distribution.

If you have any interest in the welfare of disadvantaged children, do take the opportunity, perhaps when you’re next on a holiday abroad, to visit one of SOS’s villages - they’re over 450 of them in 125 different countries, so you’re spoilt for choice! You can look at the charity’s website and sign up for its newsletter, but it’s impossible to fully appreciate the work SOS is doing until you’ve actually seen it with your own eyes.

So visit a village. You’ll find it an enjoyable and uplifting experience."

sponsor a child in EthiopiaVisit to Ethiopia

In September 2007 Helen Papworth visited the SOS Children's Village in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Helen describes the Ethiopian new year and new Millennium celebrations on 12th September here:

"I’ve just returned from Ethiopia where, on the eve of the New Millennium, my husband, friend and I visited the Addis Ababa SOS Children’s Village.

Arrangements to visit the village were made beforehand and I received helpful support from the Ethiopia Communication Officer and the village director. He met us on arrival at the village in a busy part of south Addis Ababa surrounded by dirt roads and many buildings. Once we got through the gates into the village it was like entering a calm and peaceful haven of gardens and buildings. A young girl offered to take us to meet the village director who then showed us round the village and answered our questions.

We were taken into one of the houses which accommodate about ten children under the care of their ‘mother’. Everything was being cleaned and some of the children were helping. They had bright airy rooms and bunk beds in most of the shared bedrooms. Compared to the living conditions of many families in Ethiopia, this was a luxury. The children, who were identified by local services as vacancies arose, lived here until they were old enough to attend the youth village.

There were about 150 living in the village and they attended different schools across this part of the city. They helped with other duties and played in the quiet roads and recreation areas. That evening they were going to perform for each other to mark the New Millennium and one group were culling the cow for the celebration meal while we were there. Integration within the community is important and they are sent away to distant relatives for part of each year to help them adapt to normal life. They are educated and trained according to their needs, aspirations and skills, but high unemployment is a problem faced by the village."

Helen Papworth 2007

Find out more about child sponsorship in Africa

If you'd like to find out more about child sponsorship in Africa, visit our sponsor a child in Africa section, which shows the work we do across Africa