Children reading sponsor letters in front of their friends and family. Photo by Elsa Myftari
“Dear friend! I am so thankful for your help; thanks to it, my life has improved a lot. I also thank World Vision. If I wasn’t a registered child, my life would be very miserable and perhaps I wouldn’t be able to do the most elementary things at home or at school,” says Liridon Hidri, 14-year-old sponsored boy.
“You often told me that I am special, that I can make my dreams come true and that I can be the person I want to be. Thanks to your encouraging words, I am working more and more with myself,” says Ervisa Shimcani, 13-year-old sponsored child.
“Dear friend! I just received your letter. I was looking forward to it. I liked what you’ve written to me and your little adventure made me laugh. Thanks for making me so happy and for being my friend,” says Matilda Muca, 10-year-old sponsored girl.
These are just parts of three letters that Liridon, Ervisa, and Matilda wrote to their sponsors. Liridoni is very thankful because thanks to his sponsor and to World Vision, he had the opportunity to take care of his broken arm. Now, his arm is healed, thanks to a $3,000 (USD) operation that he and his family would never have been able to afford on their own. Ervisa and Matilda are happy because they have found someone who trusts in them, someone who takes care of them, someone in their lives who brings them joy.
There are a lot of children across Albania who feel the same as these three children. In Dibra Area Development Programme there are 4,080 sponsored children. Together with World Vision they have decided to organize a conference called, “For you my friend”. It was the first conference of this type in Albania. All the activities were designed to honour the sponsors in South Korea.
“All these sponsors help our children to improve their lives and to have a better future. We know that these people are simple people, not necessary rich in money but rich in their hearts. They can be hardworking people who save money for these children or just students who group together their savings just to sponsor a child. This is the best part of sponsoring: helping those who need help without being rich,” says Klodi Zogu, Head of Sponsorship in Dibra ADP.
During the conference, children read letters from their sponsors and shared with the public letters that they had sent to their sponsors in Korea. Additionally, each group of children prepared something to thank their sponsors like: dance, a poem or a drama. The most interesting thing that the children present at the event experienced was a dance where Korean and Albanian music were mixed together. The children wore traditional costumes and they danced together to show how even though children and their sponsors are far from each other and they have different cultures, they can learn from each other.
In addition to the child participants, their parents were present as well. The parents shared with the public how special it is for them to know that somewhere, in a faraway country, is someone who also cares for their children.
“In the beginning, when my daughter received the first letter, it was a little strange for us, as parents,” remembers Elda, a mother of three children. “For us it was strange that someone that we didn’t know or that we never met helped and supported our child. My daughter was very happy when she received the first letter. Little by little, this sponsor became a part of our family and we felt good that our family had a new member,” she added.
The importance of these friendships was also the focus of a small exhibition that took place after the conference. The walls were full of letters, pictures of children or pictures to their sponsors and drawings made by children themselves.
Everything in this activity showed the gratitude of all these children for the support that these sponsors give them. It is good to see that such small things (like a letter or a photo) give these children so much joy.