I am sponsoring a child in Africa. His name is Mcebisi, and he is seven years old. Early 2019, I went to Eswatini because I wanted to visit him and see where my money goes. I pay 30 Euros per month to World Vision Austria. In this post, I will share with you my experience in sponsoring a child, and I will tell you the things you need to know before you decide to donate.
Swaziland = Eswatini
Probably you have never heard about Eswatini. It is because the country’s absolute monarch King Mswati III spontaneously decided to change the name from Swaziland to the Kingdom of Eswatini in 2018, which translated means “Land of the Swazis’. Eswatini is a small landlocked country with borders to South Africa and Mozambique and is one of the poorest African countries. According to the World Bank, about 40% of the population lives under the international poverty line of 1.9$. This nation is tiny, with a population slightly above 1.2 million – you can easily travel all around in just a few days.
Visiting the organisation of my sponsored child in Africa
Before I could visit Mcebisi (he is the one on the picture above), his family, and the organisation itself, I had to do some paperwork, this included, for instance, a certificate of no records from the police. The preparation went smooth; the NGO answered every question I had and also helped me to organise accommodation. They told me about the rules such as no gifts, or not telling the kid to visit me, and so on.
Once I arrived at the designed destination, I was warmly welcomed and introduced to all staff members. They showed me their office and they told me about their tasks. One of the team members prepared the whole day program for me, and I had the opportunity to hear about everything I wanted: about the community, about the struggles, about the project, about the family of my sponsored child, and so on.
Visiting Mcebisi and his family
We went to the kids family, where I first met Mcebisi. He is a lovely 7-year-old boy, and his biggest dream is to have a bicycle one day.
I’m not going to describe his living condition in detail, but I tell you one thing: people there are poor. I asked the family if there is anything they need right now and the answer was: ‘yes, we need more food’. So the NGO team-member, Mcebisi and me went to a supermarket, and we bought things like flour, rice, milk, bread, etc.
We also went to Mcebisi’s school. I could see the classrooms and talk to the teacher. Furthermore, I learned about the most significant challenge they have in the community: the lack of water. The area is arid, and some villages have no water at all. Because of that, people get sick and overall hygiene is poor. The organisation is building slowly but with good results new water facilities, but still, because it is so dry, some of those fountains remain empty for days. At the end of this post, I share a video that I took which shows how the local woman pumps the water out of the fountain.
It was a lucky day because Mcebisi was about to start his new year at school and I found out that he had no uniform and his shoes were falling apart as well as his backpack. So we all went shopping, and I was able to get the essential things for him.
My experience says: sponsoring a child is a good thing to do
I enjoyed the visit, and I love the whole experience of sponsoring a child. Mcebisi would not be able to go to school without the support of the organisation. The 30 Euro that I donate don’t go into his pocket, and I am aware of that. That is okay because I still experienced that the organisation is doing the right thing.
During the day of my visit, I also met another boy, who was about 15 years old who spoke well English. He told me that he also used to have a person who sponsored him, and that’s why he was able to finish school and learn English.
My experience says: sponsoring a kid is a good thing to do. I will continue to donate because having 30 Euro per month on my bank account or not, will not make any difference to my life, but it will make a difference in Mcebisi’s life.
Things to know about child sponsoring
Not all the money reach the kid
I do not know the percentage, but we all know that a large part of the funds you sponsor goes to the organisation. The NGO company needs money to its employees and also to find new sponsors; therefore, lots of gold goes into Marketing. In my previous job, I used to manage digital marketing campaigns for one of the most prominent NGOs in Europe and believe me; the amount of money they spend in Marketing is enormous. And no, it is not always efficient, and no, not every worker is heart-driven.
You are not supporting the child but the community
The funds go towards education and healthcare. They are supporting the whole community, for example, to build toilet facilities or clean water tanks. Moreover, they establish jobs for local people, who coordinate projects on the spot.
If you stop your money transfer, the kid will not be left alone
As I mentioned before, the funds support the whole community, and the organisation is in charge to take care of the project as a whole. Your sponsored child will not left be alone, even if you decide to stop your donation.
Reflect on your choices
Once I heard the following statement: ‘Sponsorship or volunteering make local people lazy’. I didn’t have the feeling that the people were lazy when I was there – on the contrary, they made an effort. But I met some volunteers along my trip in Africa, who told me that people got used to the help they get: ‘We do not have to do it, the volunteers will come and do it for us’. It is a hard statement. I’m sure it is not true in most cases, but I can also imagine that this may happen. I can suggest to have an eye on that and reflect from time to time if your NGO is the right choice.
I also encourage you to make your own experience – sponsoring a child in Africa, or anywhere else, can be a great thing!
I hope you liked my post and if you have any questions or comments, let me know. More about Africa is coming soon, and you will find it here.