Thursday, October 18, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

More than 6,000 children lose a parent to AIDS every day.

That's pretty astounding, isn't it. That means in less than two weeks, more children in Africa lose a parent to AIDS than there are people in my town.

I used to think that I would have to wait until my own children were grown or older, before we could do any significant work in Africa. Bob and I both dream of living there one day, having a farm, and traveling the region doing good works. Yeah, yeah, I've seen Out of Africa one too many times. But it's a dream that hasn't died for us in many years.

My sister in-law, a woman of amazing strength and faith, has shown me how I can make a difference right now in the life of a child in Africa. She and my brother in law have had an "adopted" child from Kenya for several years now. It goes far beyond sending in a check to a faceless charitable organization each month and leaving it at that.

Here is an excerpt from a letter sent to my sister in-law and her family from their "son," Ngilimo.

“Dear sponsor T. and T.,
Greeting from your beloved sponsored child. I am fine and hope some to you. I am very happy that you sent me 100 us $ that enable me to buy one padlock, metal box, 1 pair of uniform, one shirt and geometreax set. It also assisted my family with one sheet, 2 kgs of beans, 3 kgs’s sugar, 1 pkt tea leaves, 2 bars soap, 2 tins cooking fat, firestone shoes, 1 pair of tins, tw packets cooking darir (sp?) and one mattress. We thank you and keep praying for you. This year I am in grade 5. Wishing you the best,
Loter Ngilimo

He includes pictures he drew of an oxen, car & barn, and a photo of him and his mom with all of the items they bought.

My sister in law tells me they have received even more sentimental cards from him about how they have helped change his life by sending him to school and providing for extras that he wouldn't normally be able to have. She even sends gifts to him in the mail, and after all these years not one has failed to reach Kenya. On their 'fridge at home is a picture of Ngilimo, and her boys pray for him every night, and they dream of traveling to Kenya one day and seeing him in person.

Don't make me get all Sally Struthers on your ass and post a video of myself crying over these kids. Just go check out this website and see how easy it is to make a difference in the life of a child. We're doing it. My girls have begged me to adopt a 12 and 10 year old, and that is just what we're doing. I'll report back on that next week.

p.s. look what Philanthropy Thursday won ---------------------------------->


painted maypole said...

how great!!

Mary Alice said...

What I really appreciate about that whole post (and what brought tears to my eyes) is the expression of gratitude from the sponsored child. Though he was probably helped and directed to express his thanks in writing, he does it, because he IS truly GRATEFUL. That is wonderful that your SIL’s family can help this child reach his potential despite his very difficult circumstances.

Our children have far fewer struggles, we are so blessed - but we may not fully experience our blessings - because the sense of gratitude for what we have is not expressed consistently. How can we model and teach gratitude within our own homes and communities? I think I may start keeping a daily gratitude journal again with my kids.

KC said...


Beck said...

This post was lovely. I have wanted to sponsor a child for YEARS, but we worry that our income is too up and down and that we wouldn't be a reliable sponsor family... :(

Lela said...

What a great idea! I hope you and your family enjoy your new extended family!

flutter said...

This is just so wonderful.

BetteJo said...

Not only are you extending a hand to those who need it - but you are being an incredible role model for your kids. There is much to be admired there.
Oh - and congrats on your award!

jen said...

i am so unbelievably glad i found you via the just posts.

and i love what you are doing for children who need it most.

Crystal said...

My brother did something like this while he was in college. It wasn't until after a couple years that he even told anyone he was doing it.
I think this is a wonderful gift and I am going to talk to my husband and kids about doing something like this. Thank you for the inspiration.

Noe said...

I dont make a lot of $, but ever since I moved to the States I've had 'adopted' daughters from some countries... I'm helping out Sophia (who's 7) and Ankita (who's 8). Both from India. Also, I support my niece (7) sending her to a Christian school. I guess when we decide to help others in need, the 'doors' of Heaven open for us with more blessings!!!

sara said...

I am TOTALLY for sponsoring a child. Heck, at times I can skip a $4 latte when the money goes so much further for far better good.

Listen to this amazing story: I know a 30-year-old teacher in Maine who was a former Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi and who helped pay the high school fees of an orphaned boy when she served there. Through an interesting series of events, she and this Malawian 'boy' (now a man) started and CONTINUE TO SUPPORT an orphanage (she on her teaching salary & fundraisers; he in person as director) in Chigamba, Malawi, his village. She started by funding the building of one hut for ten kids. Now, because of the AIDS scrouge, their orphanage serves over 60 kids and helps the nearby villagers with a variety of needs. Talk about inspiring!

Check out her site for The Little Field Home:

Jennifer said...

Oh my goodness, I'm in tears. Tears from the power of kindness.