Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Do you remember the first time?

As I write the title of the post I immediately hear Pulp in my head, and I am reminded of all the bands I have been fortunate to see over the years.

I promised to write more about Child Sponsorship, and whilst belated, this post has been motivated by ActionAid celebrating Child Sponsorship Week. 

For the first time ActionAid has been able to have child sponsorship projects in Myanmar (Burma) and took Samantha Womack to see the work that has been undertaken.
Image courtesy of www.actionaid.org.uk 

For ActionAid this opportunity means a huge change to people who have endured decades of struggle and uncertainty in Myanmar and elsewhere in the developing world.

And, so what have I learned about Child Sponsorship?
It costs just 50p a day.
And I am reminded of my first time.
And all my other times since.
Of the money I will happily spend on tickets to see my favourite bands, and for the theatre.
And I'm not suggesting this is a case of changing my life.
But what of all those Starbucks coffees (with the vanilla syrup!).
And the times I spend a fortune on lunch just because, well, I'm hungry.

My new first time may just be my first proper budget.
Realistically, I could put 50p in a jar every day and not miss it too much.
And if it came out via direct debit before it even hits my bank account proper.... then maybe it wasn't mine to begin with.

And for that 50p...
Well, the opportunity is there to change a child's life, and make a difference to the community so it's not just for one person or one day, but for forever.
Since finding out about Child Sponsorship I have been dipping in and out of Pru's blog- and it quickly becomes clear of what part child sponsorship plays in the lives of both individuals. And for me, that of my children- that there is a world out there and once you understand it, maybe you can play a part in it.
For more information on how you can get involved please visit www.actionaid.org.uk/child  

There are 1600 children in Myanmar to sponsor but worldwide there are 5000 children that need sponsorship in 17 countries*
* NB The amount of countries supported by ActionAid constantly changes as new need is identified and projects are authorised.

And so, I'll end with the reality, of the difference in lives, and the difference Child Sponsorship could make...

Daw Khin Mar Lwin is 43 years old and she has three children who live in Htan Taw Village in the Dry Zone in Burma/Myanmar. Hlaing Hlaing Wai, seven, Khin Mar Hlaing , five and Thin Thin Hlaing who’s just three months old.

Khin Mar Lwin lives with her three children in the roof of a small thatched building that’s next to her brother’s house. It’s tiny and dark and as it’s actually the kitchen it – unsurprisingly – smells of smoke.

Khin Mar Lwin is living on borrowed time in her little corner she calls home, because property is inherited through the male line.  So when her parents died the house became her sibling’s and she’s simply a guest.

Although he’s been fair up until this point, now he’s getting married she knows there won’t be enough room and she’ll essentially become homeless.

Khin Mar Lwin was extremely dignified as she told her story and when asked what could be done about it she said that ‘She didn’t dare to think about help’.

Her main concern was getting enough food for her children so they can carry on going to school – above any of her own needs. The food she had she gave to her two daughters and it was just rice and tiny beans. She was still breastfeeding her baby, but on her limited diet (vegetables are too expensive) this is a struggle.

Her older girls are in school but are often exhausted when they attend. It’s just a very basic building with five grades crammed including a kindergarten, too. It is extremely noisy so while they are being taught all the age groups are competing to hear each other and their teachers. These children are so keen to attend though and you can see in their faces how much they love learning! Even if, like with Kyin Mar Hlaing, it can sometimes mean the younger ones end up snoozing in class… literally mid-sentence!

Child sponsorship is available in Burma/Myanmar for the first time. For information on how to get involved and transform a child’s life visit www.actionaid.org.uk/child 

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