In a previous post, I mentioned I had decided to sponsor a child somewhere in the world that could use my assistance. When I applied I was given a choice of the gender, age, and country of origin for my sponsor child. I decided to leave it up to the people at the aid agency. It was my hope that they would pick for me someone who was most deserving of assistance.

I received in the mail yesterday a package which detailed who my sponsor child is. The agency had chosen a young girl from Niger as my sponsor child. I was given a few details about her, including the makeup of her family, where she lives, and a few pictures of her. To protect her privacy, I will not be using her name nor posting photos of her here. I can tell you she is four years old and that she has a nine year old sister. Her father is a farmer and her mother runs the household. They live in the northwest part of Niger, in a village with less than 20,000 inhabitants.

The agency encourages all sponsors to write to their sponsor child. They suggest sending along photos or postcards from the sponsor’s home country and/or city. I will write her a short note and give her some postcards from Vancouver. I’ve been told that I will receive updates on her every 12 to 18 months. She doesn’t go to school because she is still too young. Like so many developing countries, educating children in Niger is difficult. She won’t start school until she is seven years old. Unfortunately, the majority of children in Niger who finish their primary education are boys. I know the issues are complex but it is my hope that my sponsor child gets the education she deserves and needs. Often, children cannot continue their education because they are required to work to help their family survive. Given a choice between either simply surviving or going to school, it is a choice they make out of necessity. That’s where I’m hoping my dollars will go to work, to give enough stability to the family so that they can allow their children to go to school without worry.

I am looking forward to the day where my sponsor child will be able to read my letters and write her own replies to me, all by herself.

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