One Sponsor's Journey

One sponsor's story of a journey into the unknown to meet her sponsored child.

When Anna met Elijah

Mother of two boys, Anna became a Plan sponsor 11 years ago. Last year, her sponsored child, Eijah from the Bafata region of Guinea Bissau in West Africa was turning 11 and Anna thought it was time to say hello .. in person…

“I was so excited. I had never traveled to Africa before and from the moment I landed, I knew I would return. The sounds, smells and atmosphere were unlike anything I had experienced before.

Meeting Eijah was so emotional. He was just an infant when I started sponsoring him and to meet him, at 11, so proud and smiley was extraordinary. Wiping away tears, Eijah and his parents brought me on a tour – we visited his school, had a lunch with the local Plan team, played football with his friends. Eijah even showed me his homework exercise book with his excellent handwriting and spelling – I think we was just showing off, but I couldn’t help but feel proud.

I have two boys myself and could see much of them of them in Eijah. I missed them so much on the trip, but on my return had a completely renewed outlook.

For several years my husband and I had been corresponding with Elijah. We have regularly exchanged letters in which he told us how he is progressing at school, how his family is getting on and the latest news from his village. It meant so much for me and my family to receive these letters.

Yet, on visiting Eijah, it really felt like we were having a real impact.

Through my sponsorship, Plan had taken spurs off the main water pipe into Eijah’s village to allow more people to have access to fresh and safe water without having to walk miles. Elijah’s family is also taking part in a Plan-led scheme to allow them to grow and produce fish which they could either use to start a fish farm or use as an additional food source for themselves.

It was inspiring to see the difference my sponsorship money makes in a community and how Plan supports people to make genuine improvements in their lives. I know that Elijah and his family have gained through sponsorship but in many ways, I have too.