“ERDO is looking for committed child sponsors to meet the needs of children whose Canadian sponsors have recently cancelled their support due to the impact of COVID-19 on their employment. If you have ever considered sponsoring a child, please know that choosing to say ‘yes’ right now could not come at a more critical time.”
Each morning, Ayisha’s father would leave the house to find work. He was a day labourer and took sporadic jobs to provide for his wife and children. Eight-year-old Ayisha and her 16-year-old brother had a place to live and food to eat because their father found enough work. Village of Hope (VOH) Africa and ERDO help the family with school fees, and the children are receiving an education through child sponsorship.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Zimbabwe in early 2020, families were told to stay indoors. All across the nation, fear spread as no one wanted to catch or spread the illness. But Ayisha’s family was scared for another reason. Staying inside meant their father could not find work and their home would soon run out of food.
During the pandemic, access to food has been difficult for many families like Ayisha’s. But since Ayisha and her brother were part of the VOH Africa ChildCARE Plus child sponsorship program, local field staff knew their family. They knew Ayisha’s father would struggle to find work and have difficulty feeding his family. Child sponsorship staff were ready and waiting to help.
VOH Africa provided emergency food relief, giving a monthly food hamper to each vulnerable family in their program. They also were able to keep educating children during school closures by distributing weekly schoolwork packages.
Child sponsorship involves so much more than education. When a Canadian donor chooses to support a child they may never meet, they are bringing that child and their family into a loving community. Local sponsorship staff care for every child in the program. They love our sponsored children and share the much greater love of Christ with each child. In a crisis, they ensure that children’s needs are met.
Without child sponsorship, many single mothers could not afford to send their children to school. When a Canadian donor becomes a sponsor, they provide hope to a child in need and lift the financial burden from a parent.
Junior lives in Zambia. His mother and stepfather recently separated, and now Junior’s mother cares for Junior, his five-year-old sister, and his nine-year-old stepbrother. Junior’s mother is also taking care of her own young brother, a nine-year-old, after their mother died four years ago. She works as a part-time brick moulder, and her income is not stable. Without the support of child sponsorship, Junior would not be able to receive an education or supplementary food for the entire family.
Catherine is 16 years old and also a part of our sponsorship program at Village of Hope in Zambia. Catherine started Grade 12 last year and prepared to write her final national examinations. Before classes, she would attend the VOH Africa discipleship lessons and feeding program. As a sponsored child, Catherine also has access to free health care, which has given her the dream to become a nurse and help other children in her community. She lives with her mother, who is a single parent and struggles to provide for her family. It has been difficult, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, for her mother to find steady employment.
Catherine, like Junior, received emergency food during the pandemic. Catherine’s entire family is incredibly grateful and sees this extra help as a huge blessing.
Child sponsorship is more than an education for children in need; it is relationship. Our partners, like VOH Africa and PAOC global workers, understand the communities where they work and are aware of the greatest needs.
Right now, ERDO is looking for committed child sponsors to meet the needs of children whose Canadian sponsors have recently cancelled their support due to the impact of COVID-19 on their employment. If you have ever considered sponsoring a child, please know that choosing to say “yes” right now could not come at a more critical time.
By sponsoring a child today, you will walk alongside that child in their developmental years while they learn about their world in school, develop an understanding of Jesus, and grow to take on meaningful work and roles in their community.
If you would like to sponsor a child today or find out more about how the process works, visit https://www.erdo.ca/sponsor-now or call 1-800-779-7262. We would love to speak with you and see how you can help a child in need.
Alicia Kolenda is the marketing and communications officer at ERDO (Emergency Relief and Development Overseas).
Images above: Children enjoying lunch at the tutoring program held at Village of Hope in Malawi.
This article appeared in the January/February/March 2021 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2021 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photos © ERDO.