These days also are important to see them to hear about changes in their lives; to hear the good and to hear the sad or unfortunate news too. We also need to see if they need less or more educational support.
I think about them for a few days before the visits and make notes, write down questions I have for the child and family, and list anything we need to follow up on. I also think about the child and if they need some more stationery or clothing and then look around to see what I have in the office that we can give them as we receive clothes, toys and school supplies from friends and organizations we partner with.
High quality raincoats and t-shirts donated by a partner organization
But there is always a feeling of the unknown; what will we discover, what will have changed, what good news or bad news will they have. Sometimes it is not a feeling of joy I have, but one of heaviness and sadness when I think of some of the children and their dying grandparents or parents.
Sometimes I feel helpless. Our work is 'educational'; we are doing what we can to ensure the children who are in our sponsorship program complete their education with the educational support to make that possible. Sometimes it means we need to provide a bike to get to school, or food and supplements so they are less emaciated and malnourished, or send them to the doctor to find out what is the cause of them feeling ill and missing so much schooling. Sometimes we can't help in the way they would love as sometimes what they want in not educational and does not come under the category of supporting education; it is not in our 'line of work'. Quite a few should have had surgery years ago and now it is too late, some need land and a house, some need a stable and strong house before the next rainy-storm season, and some need a good job to be able to support their families. But we can't give them life-saving surgery when they are on their deathbed, we can't buy them land and a house, or build them a house, or get them work in their district when there is no suitable work.
Fortunately in some cases, the local government has been able to provide land sometimes, or funds towards building, which has been a huge joy for the families and a relief for CEF. Sometimes the wait is long for the families as there are many poor people but the local government does help with land and housing when families are eligible and if they can help. They help the single parents before they help the families with two parents which is wonderful, but also some couples need help urgently as they can't earn much due to illness, disability, caring for a disabled family member, or due lack of work opportunities or a combination of these challenges.
One of the families old homes and their new home being built and mainly funded by the local government
One of the old home and new home being built, mainly funded by the local government