Ecuador is a beautiful but difficult place to grow up. 3-year old Heidy lives in a small village high in the Ecuadorian Andes, 4,000 metres above sea level (that’s about four times Ireland’s highest peak).
When we first arrived, Heidy was sitting alone playing with a stick and a stone. She turned to us, looked curious and then ran to fetch her brother Alex, 6, who had just come home from school. There were no adults nearby.
Finally, as evening fell, Heidy’s grandmother arrived back from a long day in the fields. She was exhausted and explained all.
Heidy had a really tough start. Her Mam passed away when she was a toddler and her Dad left to find work. When Heidy was taken in by her grandmother, she ate little, often sat alone and didn’t speak a word.
Now, she spends most time outside where cold nights are followed by blazing hot sun; leaving its mark on her burnt red cheeks.
“Alone all day?” we asked. “Yes, so it is,” said the grandmother. She sees no other solution.
The family grow their own food. High in the Andes, this requires an indomitable courage. From morning to night, the grandmother works in the fields. Children must take care of themselves. That’s the reality for many children in this area.
That evening, Plan International made a commitment to Heidy, her brother and her grandmother. We would help the elderly grandmother find real and practical alternatives to her dangerous, daily toil. We would look after Heidy and ensure the family are fed and warm. We would find a sponsor for Heidy and help ensure her future is better than her past.
Through child sponsorship with Plan International , we can make these commitments and you can play an active part. You support one child in one community. Yet, your impact is so much more. Sponsorship is not about direct provision. Your support allows Plan to support communities globally; to respond to crises quickly and effectively; to leverage even more support and to continue to deliver on our commitment for a fair and equal world for boys and girls everywhere.
That day was a good day for Heidy – the start of a new story – but for thousands like her, it was not. If you can, make today the day you give something back.
Plan International is a global children’s charity that is making a positive impact in the lives of 78 million children in over 86,000 communities around the world. One of the best ways for us and for you to make an immediate and lasting improvement to the lives of the world’s poorest children is by sponsoring one child in one community with Plan International.
When you sponsor a child, your contribution goes straight to the heart of that child’s community and beyond. Your sponsorship ensures your sponsored child has the chance to go to school, to eat a healthy meal each day, to be safe and healthy and to have a roof over their head and food in their belly. But more than that. Sponsorship allows us to leverage more funds. Respond to crises quickly and effectively and ensure that your support goes so much further.
Sponsorship lets you follow your sponsored child’s progress every step of the way. You can be hands-on with the community and child that you sponsor. You’ll write letters, exchange experiences, get regular updates and photographs and even have the opportunity to meet if you so choose.
Results of numerous studies have shown that children who are sponsored are more likely to stay in school longer than their peers who are not sponsored. They are also more likely to be able to find a job in the future and perhaps even become a leader in their communities.
For example, in Uganda a study by the University of San Francisco found that children who were sponsored were 42% more likely to finish their secondary education program and 83% more likely to finish university than those not in the program. As well as providing a child with the essentials that they need to survive, such as clean water, food and healthcare, this education will help them to break out of the cycle of poverty.
It is your commitment to your sponsored child that allows Plan International Ireland to design, deliver and implement quality, sustainable programmes that help your sponsored child, their family and entire community and millions of children in some of the world’s poorest countries.
A Welcome Pack, introducing you to your sponsored child and family. The real starting point of your journey.
An Annual Update with new photos of your sponsored child and their family, news from the community and much, much more.
Letters and gifts back and
forth to your sponsored child, through which you can build a unique relationship.
Heidy’s is just one story. You can can choose to sponsor a child in any of the 86,000 communities where Plan International work.
For every €1 we receive, Plan International Ireland spend 93c on our programmes.
The decision to sponsor is yours, as is when you want to stop or pause. We understand circumstances change.