In honour of the launch of a new ‘Sponsor a Child Programme’ this weeks blog post is written by Rachael, our Director of Operations about the impact of sponsorship.
It’s lunchtime in the camp and we are enjoying a peaceful cup of coffee. From a few hundred yards away we can hear the small giggles of the pre-school kids running through the jungle on their way to class. As the giggles grow nearer the dogs start going crazy, obviously it’s time to warn us that the crazy children are nearly here. Next thing we hear are the cheerful shouts from Noe, Gloria, Samuel and Ibra…. “HELLLOOO TEACHER”, a few steps closer and then Gloria breaks into a run and leaps up into your arms to greet you. ‘Hello teacher Rachael, how are you?’. Once all twelve kids have arrived and each has greeted you in the same happy way it’s time to start class.
I could go on talking about the eagerness of our kids to learn, and the enthusiasm they bring to school, but I’ll save that for another time or I will be here for hours. Today I want to talk about why I decided to sponsor a child! I mean first of all how can you not fall in love with all of the kids when they greet you so warmly each day? And how could you not feel proud of them when they master writing Letter A for the first time? Or figure out the answer to 7 + 4 all by themselves? All of these things made me want to guarantee that Banda Island Primary School can countiue to exsist and support the children on the island. This can and will be achieved via our new Sponsor a Child Programme.
The above examples are the kind of things I am lucky enough to experience each day whilst volunteering with Firefly. I am in a fortunate position in which I can spend every day with so many wonderful children, and get to know each of their amazing personalities. Through the new sponsorship programme Firefly hopes to create international relationships for our budding mathematicians, or future swimming champions, or pilots, or doctors, or fishermen, or vets (the list goes on). Whatever they want to be when they grow up, we want to make sure they have an education that will allow them to succeed. At Firefly, we hope that through letters and emails, updates and photographs we can create a relationship between people all over the world, and everyone of the children in our school, by getting each and every one of them sponsored. Which will in turn guarantee them access to education.
Gloria, is a 7 year old bubbly, gorgeous little girl who attends our pre-school. Gloria always comes to school with a big smile on her face and an energy that cannot be missed. Gloria’s mummy works at the camp to earn a living to support not only Gloria and her two sisters (Grace and Getu), but also her three other children that live on the mainland. Mamma Gloria (Jayne) is a hugely generous lady who gives all of her spare time and money to help others. She has a small cooking space in the village where she cooks everyday, and whoever is in need that day comes along to eat. Everyday Mamma Gloria cooks for at least 3 more children than her own.
It is these kind-hearted actions that led me to want to help Gloria and her family in anyway that I can. Having discussed the sponsorship programme with the Firefly team, it was clear to me the difference that €15 would make to Gloria and Mamma Gloria’s life. This is an amount that most in Europe, America or Australia etc can afford to spare. That’s a sacrifice of 3 Starbucks coffees or 2 large glasses of wine a month. Something that is easily achievable for me, and now something that I will never stop doing having seen the difference it can make to one family.
I did not chose to sponsorship Gloria for any sort of gratitude, but purely because she’s a fabulous little girl. I wanted to make sure she could keep coming to school and would keep mastering the alphabet and go on achieve what she wants to. However, when Mamma Gloria was told that I would be helping her with Gloria’s school fees her reaction was truly heart warming. She cannot speak much English but just from her smiles and her many many many thank yous and hugs, it was evident that this would make a big difference to her life, especially with Gloria’s younger sister Grace starting school in January.
Gloria is just one of the amazingly brilliant children we have in our primary school and in Banda village. I hope that my story will inspire you to spread the word about Firefly Uganda, our sponsorship programme and you that choose to join us on our quest!