What the heart wants
CCFC’s Kate Tansley is inspired to sponsor a child while visiting Nicaragua
By Kate Tansley
CCFC project coordinator, DESM
Nov. 19, 2015
I have a confession. I work at Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), but I don’t have all the answers to questions about child sponsorship. I know, in theory, it’s important and worthwhile to support an impoverished young child in a developing country, but I wasn’t sure it was the way for me to give until a recent business trip to Managua, Nicaragua.
Between Oct. 22 and Nov. 4, staff from CCFC’s head office in Markham, Ont., shared and learned from the country office team in Nicaragua as well as our sponsorship managers from India, Paraguay and Burkina Faso. On the second day of our trip we travelled to Estelí, a forested mountain community outside of Managua, and prepared to see child sponsorship in action.
We paid close attention to the steps involved in enrolling a child in the program. Meanwhile, two children had been identified as eligible for sponsorship, and they had arrived at the community centre with their parents to begin their personal journey with CCFC. It was at that moment that my heart was stirred, and I felt led and challenged to do something. It became clear when I came face to face with a beautiful two-year-old girl named Jissell.
We weren’t that different. As we played together, I discovered Jissell liked colouring and drawing — something I have loved from an early age. As her words were interpreted for me, I also learned we had a lot in common: pink and purple are our favourite colours, our favourite animal is the giraffe, we both have older sisters and our birthdays are one day apart!
This made me question why a child who is so much like me should grow up without the basic necessities that I enjoy — clean water, health care, nutritious food and an education. Jissell deserves a chance to experience all life has to offer, and I wanted my husband and I to play a part in giving that to her.
I have no problem saying I had to weigh the implications of giving up the $39 per month that sponsorship costs. Here is my reality: I’ve been married for four years, I’m 29, and, like many Canadians, have student loans, bills and living costs. But all it will take financially is to go out for dinner one less time each month and cut back on coffee runs — that’s it! Making small changes to my routine is all it takes to give this child a chance at a healthy and full life.
In the grand scheme of things, $39 a month isn’t something I will miss, but it’s worth the world to Jissell and her family, and that’s a price worth paying.
To sponsor a child, click here.