Letters of love
Philip Maher, a CCFC photographer, reflects on the power of donations and small gifts in the lives of sponsored children and their communities
By Philip Maher
I am fortunate enough to have travelled to Africa, Asia and Latin America where I often document the difference charities make in the lives of children, their families and communities. It’s the best part of what I do. It’s a true honour meeting people trying their best to raise their families, just like any parent from Canada does. But, these families are fighting disease, food shortages, unemployment and drought. If there’s a local child-sponsorship program — such as the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada-supported community in the photo above — I take time to find out more.
I often ask sponsored children — like this little girl in Ghana, Afishatu (pictured) — to show me small tokens they’ve received from their sponsor. They eagerly run to their one-room home and return with a rich bounty of colourful cards and letters sent over the years. These are the only cards or letters they have received in their life. They represent a small token that shows someone far away is thinking of them. Some of the cards are four and five years old, their corners frayed, they’re fragile and watermarked, but they’re cherished heirlooms. Many of these children don’t understand their community water source or the hot meal they eat at school daily is a result of sponsorship, but they understand a personal photo and letter.
Congratulations to the family in Ontario, Afishatu’s sponsor, and other sponsors and donors who are making a difference in this world. I know that for Afishatu, you’ve left an impression — not only in her life and the lives of her family and others in her village, but in the heart of a grateful child.
Photos by Philip Maher