by Virginia Sowers
ChildFund Community Manager
The day after Thanksgiving, my local newspaper inserts a busy elf on the lower corner of the front page with a kind reminder of 24 shopping days until Dec. 25.
Today, we’re at 17.
But I’m not panicking. I’m about to pull a rabbit (actually, a goat) out of my hat.
ChildFund International’s Gifts of Love & Hope still has an excellent selection of gifts with lasting impact for children. What better way to honor my friends and family than by giving a gift on their behalf to help someone truly in need?
Families in Sierra Leone lost all of their livestock during 11 years of brutal civil war. Now that the country is at peace and rebuilding, ChildFund is setting up school livestock programs.
Today, six schools maintain goats and sheep. The animals, contributed by ChildFund supporters through the Gifts of Love & Hope catalog, are housed in pens built by community members. The entire community is involved in the success of this project, and they are enjoying the benefits of better nutrition.
Now, that’s a truly wonderful gift.
So as the shopping days rapidly evaporate in this busy season, I’m resolving not to stress. Instead, I’m flipping through the Gifts of Love & Hope catalog and imagining the happy excitement of children around the world when they receive a gift from my family.
And I’ll also be able to share with my friends and family the true meaning of the honorary gift I’ve chosen for them this season.
If this sounds like a good idea for you, too, then take a look at ChildFund’s catalog. From farm animals to healthy environments, you’re sure to find a gift to multiply your love.
Editor’s note: We will bringing you a post from Guatemala later this week. Today, we explore Sierra Leone with Mick Foley.
By Ellie Whinnery
Public Relations Manager
Mick Foley, a well-known figure in the world of professional wrestling, would just as soon be known as a “Champion for Children.” Since 1992, Foley has been supporting deprived children through ChildFund International, both as a sponsor of eight children and as a major donor.
Over the last few years, he has contributed more than $290,000 for early-childhood-development centers, community centers, health clinics and for the building of seven schools in war-torn Sierra Leone.
Foley recently visited Sierra Leone to tour one of the schools and meet one of the children he sponsors. On arrival at the new school, he heard children chanting his name—not for his wrestling fame but because of his generous heart.
The new Child Friendly School built through Foley’s generosity now bears his name.
Foley shared with the community members and children gathered to greet him, “For me it’s about establishing relationships with children in need, and I understand that almost 59% of school-age children do not attend school in Sierra Leone.”
Foley hopes that building seven schools in closer proximity to the communities in need will help drop this statistic significantly.
While in Sierra Leone, Foley also met the child he sponsors. Describing the sponsorship experience, he says, “It’s about letting children with very little in their lives, through no fault of their own, know that someone out there cares.”
Foley explains that sponsorship provides the opportunity to have a personal relationship with a child through the sharing of letters and photographs and, in his case, the chance to meet in person.
Foley, who has four children of his own, has written three successful children’s books, earning a spot on the New York Times best-seller list. He has also donated book sales proceeds to ChildFund.
To honor this generosity, ChildFund International has named Foley and his wife as Stewardship Patrons in the Champions for Children Society.
For more information about ChildFund’s work in Sierra Leone, click here.
More on Sierra Leone
Population: 6.1 million
ChildFund beneficiaries: More than 147,000 children and families
Did you know?: In Sierra Leone, 70.2% of the population lives below the poverty line, and 59% percent of school-age children do not attend school.