Sponsorship Changed their Lives: the story of Martin, Vestine, and their sponsored daughter, Justine
Contributed by Laura Walls in Stories from the Field
On the recent Vision Trip to Rwanda, Martin moved our team of child ambassadors deeply as he shared the impact sponsorship has had on his family. Read along to learn of their transformation!
We arrived at the home of Martin and Vestine and their six children as the sun was easing closer to the horizon. The sound of our vehicles brought neighborhood children running to greet us from every direction. They practiced their English with big smiles. “Howareyoo?” They grinned.
We trekked down the steep, rocky hillside to the homes below us where Martin and Vestine graciously welcomed us. Vestine carried two beautiful twin babies in her arms and smiled a gentle, warm welcome. We entered into their bright, cheerful home and sat along two benches that spanned the length of the walls.
Martin, the father of the family, addressed us proudly, explaining that they have received much “tangible and intangible help” from World Vision.
He started from the beginning - when their daughter, Justine, was sponsored.
“The day they told us we had a sponsor for our child, I couldn’t imagine it. I couldn’t imagine that someone could look at a picture and fall in love with my child. That really touched my heart. I’ve always had a dream to meet this person who would love my child.” Martin unabashedly smiled.
“And then the next day, I heard they sent money as a gift and I couldn’t believe the love they had for my child!” He shook his head, smiled, and continued. “We never had any animals. I used to wake up at 6 am and go farming. With the gift from our sponsor, we bought a pig and a goat.” Martin’s eyes twinkled and he laughed. “Now, I had to wake up at 5 am to take care of them! That has made me busy and my life has changed!”
Their transformation continues
After receiving the animals, Martin wanted to further his education so he received training from World Vision on animal husbandry and farming techniques. He learned that the manure from the animals would help his land to produce more vegetables. Now he not only had enough produce for his family but to also had a surplus to sell!
After six months, the pig had 8 piglets. Martin laughed again. “Now I started dreaming! I started seeing myself as a business person. I started thinking of a cow for milk.”
With the additional sales from the surplus vegetables and the piglets, it was time to make that dream a reality. Martin purchased a cow. The sales from the milk of that cow now cover the cost of health insurance for his whole family.
Five months later, the cow had a calf. This calf was a crossbreed and produced more milk than it’s mother. Now there were two liters of milk for their family and two liters left over to sell!
Martin continued, “But when a miracle comes in the house, the door is always open!”
Justine’s sponsor sent a second gift notification. “I started thinking about more training. I could see they really cared about our well-being!”
Martin bought a second plot of land with his combined savings and the gift notification. Martin smiled,
“From then, dreams really came to happen!”
The sponsor sent a third gift notification and with it, they were able to purchase cement and a sturdy tin roof for their home. A fourth gift notification bought another plot of land but this one, was even more special. “Because Justine has been a source of blessing to our family, we entitled this plot of land in her name.”
When she is old enough, this land will belong to Justine.
Justine responded sweetly, “I really thank you so much for the sponsorship. My sponsor bought me clothing and books and takes care of me every day.”
Martin continued where Justine left off. “There’s no way I can describe all of the blessings of sponsorship. Having you (the child ambassador team) here reminds me of where I was and where I am now.”
World Vision sponsors can send gifts of money (gift notifications) to their sponsored child in many (though not all) countries through the World Vision Help Desk: 888-511-6548. World Vision staff will then work with the family to determine how the gift will best suit their needs. The sponsor will then be sent a thank you letter listing what was purchased, as well as a photo of their sponsored child with the items.
Greater Together is a collaborative blog written by volunteer child ambassadors for World Vision.