Thirty years ago, ERDO (Emergency Relief and Development Overseas) and The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC) launched the child sponsorship program, ChildCARE Plus (CCP). In the years since, thousands of children from all over the world have been educated, housed, clothed and fed through CCP.

It is amazing to see how God has used ChildCARE Plus for over 30 years to reach families who otherwise would never hear the name of Jesus.

ChildCARE Plus Has Been Changing Lives for Over 30 Years

The graduates of ChildCARE Plus from over 25 developing countries have grown up to pastor churches or have found other employment, breaking their family’s cycle of poverty. God has transformed lives and is continuing to change stories of families and their future generations. Now adults, our child sponsorship graduates are impacting their communities, families and countries for good.

Time and time again, we have seen God strategically place our ChildCARE Plus program and our individual ChildCARE Plus graduates.

When Ukraine was invaded by Russian forces, the CCP program was already deeply established in the country. Together with our staff and local partners, we were able to respond quickly, moving sponsored children to safe areas and helping many find refuge outside the country. The Ukraine staff and volunteers also helped nearby orphanages transport children and find homes for them in surrounding nations. Thanks in part to the ChildCARE Plus network, we were able to impact many lives.

On a much smaller scale, our in-office staff saw God place a ChildCARE Plus graduate in our midst last year, and she has become an integral part of our ERDO family.

Meet Patricia

Patricia Sachirarwe was born in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe. Over three million people live in Harare, an area affected by urban poverty. Patricia was born in a small home which she shared with her mother, aunts, uncles and siblings. It was a crowded house!

Thanks to the hard work of Patricia’s mother, Patricia was able to attend a primary school 20 minutes away from home. In school, Patricia thrived. Her teachers could tell she had great academic potential.

At the age of 13, Patricia was accepted into a boarding school six hours outside of Harare. Her time at the boarding school was not filled with happy memories. The school did not challenge Patricia or help her grow.

Patricia’s mother, always concerned about her children, spoke with a friend who was doing technical repair work for PAOC global workers Gaye and Elizabeth Norrie. The Norries spent many years in Zimbabwe with Villages of Hope (VOH) Africa, one of ERDO’s child sponsorship partners, supporting orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children. They decided to accept Patricia as a student at VOH Africa, where she lived and attended school from age 14 until her graduation from high school. Patricia’s education at VOH Africa was sponsored by a PAOC youth group in Parry Sound, Ont.

When it came time for Patricia to graduate from high school, several barriers were miraculously removed, allowing her to apply for university. Graduating with excellent standing, The MasterCard Foundation granted Patricia a scholarship to McGill University, where she studied economics and international development.

Patricia says, “As a child, I once told my mother that I would like to live in Canada. She had no idea how I would have even come to know about Canada, but looking back, I know that God had this plan for my life to be here, now.” The dream God placed in Patricia’s heart was being fulfilled.

Patricia Joins ERDO

After graduating from McGill, Patricia began looking for a job. She saw an opening with ERDO and interviewed to become a ChildCARE Plus administrator, overseeing all Canadian donations being sent to children just like her. In her interview, she told the ChildCARE Plus manager her story—one that was coming full circle.

Now, if you call ERDO to donate or ask a question about your child sponsorship, you may speak with Patricia. Patricia has a quiet and gentle way of making every person around her feel heard and understood. She is fiercely empathetic and a wonderful part of the ERDO team.

If you are wondering whether child sponsorship really makes a difference, Patricia says: “I don’t need to look any further than to the lives of my older sisters who were not able to be educated beyond Grade 11. Their lives would be very different now if they had been sponsored and were able to complete their education.

“One of my closest friends in Zimbabwe was orphaned and had to care for her younger siblings. Without being sponsored to go to school or provided with food and a place to live, she and her siblings might have fallen into greater despair.”

Today, you can sponsor a child like Patricia, helping them reach their God-given potential. Donate now and help ChildCARE Plus empower children for another 30 years at https://erdo.ca/sponsor-now.

This article appeared in the January/February/March 2023 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2023 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photo by Ben White on Unsplash.

This content is provided as a free sample of testimony. Subscribe for full access to the complete magazine.