4 years ago I would never have expected I’d become a mother. At 39 years old I was career driven having built a successful media company from scratch, living the epicurean dream in Melbourne, Australia and travelling the world in any spare time work allowed. I was living big. I’m not sure when the idea crossed my mind about sponsoring a child but I thought it would be the right thing to do for me personally with the view that if I don’t have children that it would be a positive experience to help a child especially one in a less fortunate country. I chose Nepal.
Nepal had always been on my radar not only for it’s adventure and immense mountains that called to the explorer in me but for its spiritual power. Surrounded in ancient mystery and tradition it was one country that I longed to visit.
Choosing to sponsor a child was easy but choosing the child wasn’t. Scrolling through the profiles online I looked at the sea of faces. How does one choose? My thoughts centred around providing preschool education and healthcare so I narrowed the age group to 3-5 year olds hoping an early intervention in a young child’s life would be perhaps more beneficial now than later. Rajkisor caught my attention with his big brown eyes, they pierced deep into my psyche. He beckoned me to respond and within moments I had signed up. $40 per month would cover his education and healthcare. I recall thinking that’s really not very much.
A few weeks after my sponsorship pack arrived in the mail with a photo and further information about where he lived and his community. For the first few years I did little other than send the occasional letter and gift and enjoyed reading his responses when they arrived in the mail. He’d often send me a drawing or finger painting. It wasn’t until I had my own son that the relationship changed and I began to research his community and think about his life; what must it be like for a child living in a rural community in a developing country?
I hadn’t told anyone about my sponsorship of Rajkisor. My partner who later became my husband collected the mail and found a letter one afternoon from Save the Children. Thinking it was advertising material he commented that it would be a good idea to sponsor a child one day. Opening the letter I handed him the updated photo of my sponsor child and he beamed ear to ear! “You didn’t tell me about this,” he commented. “What a great idea!” He wanted to know everything about how the program worked and I was surprised at his deep interest. “We should sponsor more children,” he said, astounded at how little it cost per month to provide an education and healthcare.
Not long after we became pregnant and my world changed. I often thought how privileged my son was compared to Rajkisor and if or how I could help close that gap. Our life in comparison was one of excess thinking nothing of going out for dinner and spending the equivalent of 6 months child sponsorship in one meal. How unfair the world was with privilege bestowed on children only by their country of birth. I made a promise I would do more for my sponsor child and his family but I still now always feel like it is never enough. Of course it isn’t. And I feel a deep sense of guilt that I’m not providing more support.
Rajkisor is 8 now and I’ve been sponsoring him for almost 5 years. He recently wrote me a letter that his dream job is to become a doctor. My guilt was eased slightly reading that perhaps the small contribution I am making to provide him with an education may just be enough to change his life