by Anne Lynam Goddard, ChildFund President and CEO
At ChildFund, we talk a lot about changing childhoods. We believe that children who are nurtured as infants, educated as children and involved as youth will become the leaders of future change in their communities and countries.
I want to share with you that it’s really happening.
Earlier this spring, I traveled to Kenya to visit ChildFund projects and to share our work with a group of donors and sponsors on a study tour. ChildFund has worked in Kenya for more than 50 years, reaching more than 1 million children and families over the decades.
Kenya also holds a special place in my heart, having served two years there as a Peace Corps volunteer some 30 years ago. My Swahili is somewhat mixed up with the other four languages I’ve studied since then, but I found it coming back to me while on the trip—on one day in particular.
That was the day that I traveled to the town of Nakuru with ChildFund Kenya National Director Victor Koyi. En route, we were unexpectedly stopped by a policeman. As our driver was sorting out the cause, I was able to pick up some of the exchange: “Where are you headed? “Who is this foreigner?” “I know ChildFund.”
By then, Victor was out of the car and shaking hands with the officer. The policeman stopped us because he recognized the ChildFund logo on our vehicle. He wanted to tell us that he was a former sponsored child! He rattled off his sponsor’s name and shared how he came from a very poor family.
He said he would not have had the opportunity for an education or to be trained as a policeman without the 11 years of sponsorship support he received through ChildFund. He completed secondary school and also volunteered for a while as a youth intern with the Maikona Family Helper Project.
Meeting Barako, who is now 37 with a family of his own, turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip to Kenya. It once again confirmed why we do what we do every day.
So, to our ChildFund supporters, I say asante sana. Many thanks.