Awhile back I asked Children International if they could have their field workers go around to all of my sponsor kids families to:
1. Determine if there was any Income Generating Project I could fund. Essentially this would be enabling the families to set up small businesses which would be a continuing source of income for them. I don't think every family will qualify because they will either have to have a marketable skill or a community which can support a small business.
2. Take photographs for me of my sponsor kids with their families in front of their houses. I wanted this so that I could determine which families needed the most help in obtaining new housing. (Obviously Jenny and her family who live under a bridge in Manila will top my list but I hope I can help all of my families to make at least some improvements in their housing.) I also hope that the family photos will help me recruit sponsors for any of my kids siblings that are currently lacking a sponsor.
3. I also asked Children International to determine if there were any other special needs which I could hopefully help the families with. This could be just about anything from school supplies to a bed - whatever they might urgently need.
I was really delighted when I came back from vacation to find that the first of the responses to my requests were starting to come in. Total kudos to CI and their field workers for getting things done so quickly!! Over the next weeks and months I will post about the progress of these initiatives. I'm really really excited to have the opportunity to go above and beyond just sending in my sponsorship fees every month. It's my hope that with Income Generating Projects and possibly better, safer housing my sponsor kids and their families might be able to find a way out of the poverty they live in. It's certainly worth a try!
I thought it was really fitting that the first response we got was a series of pictures of Lesly (our very first sponsor child) and her family outside their home in Guatemala.
I just adore Lesly. Her smile is just so precious!!
I love Lesly's family too! This is her father Hugo and her mother Aura. The oldest boy is Osny and the older girl is Yennifer. In the blue shirt is Lesly's younger brother Henri. Osny (12) and Henri (4) are both in the program but do not currently have sponsors. If anyone has considered sponsoring, then either of these kids would be a great choice! I know I am generalizing, but in my experience, the Guatemalan people are very friendly, happy and welcoming. They are close and loving families. And Lesly's family in particular has been just wonderful to get to know.
It looks like little Henri has Lesly's big bright smile. Aren't they just a sweet little family?
Lesly's father is a bricklayer. Their home is constructed of wood with a corrugated metal roof and a concrete floor. You can't see too much of the home in these pictures but it gives you a fair idea of what it is like. There is one bedroom and a kitchen where they cook over an open fire. (Serious kudos to Lesly's mom Aura - I doubt I could manage to cook a meal over an open fire!) They use a community faucet for water.
The family income has gone up by a third since I began sponsoring Lesly. They now have about $156.00 a month which I think is about average for the families living in poverty conditions in Lesly's area. I'm really happy that their income has gone up - CI sent me a update/report about the family recently - but I am hoping that I will also be able to help them set up an Income Generating Project soon. Hopefully I will get a letter about that in the next few weeks if the family is able to come up with any ideas for one.
I have to add that this is a perfect example of why I LOVE Children International and the concept of direct sponsorship. They are giving me all the information I need to help me to help my kids and their families. And I am able to see the progress that they make through the reports and photos that CI provides.
In an upcoming post I'll tell you about the first Income Generating Project we've set up for another one of my sponsor families. I'm so excited about it!!