BWAA: Transforming communities

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Losing a parent is hard. Losing a parent when you are just a young boy living in rural Zambia can mean the difference between life and death!
Alfred was only 7 when his father died leaving behind five children and a bereaved wife to cope as best they could. Within a short period of time, Alfred’s mother remarried and moved away leaving the children in the care of their elderly grandmother.
“I was only a young but I needed to become a father to my two brothers and my two sisters. I needed to work to feed the family. I also wanted to make sure they went to school,” Alfred says.
Alfred tried to provide for his siblings by farming his family’s allotted piece of land. He was keen to learn and tried to replicate the work of other farmers from sowing crops to selling them at the local market. However their techniques were old ways requiring costly fertilizers which Alfred did not have access to. With no one to teach him how to raise good crops, he was struggling to produce enough food until his family came to the attention of Baptist World Aid’s local partner, RCZ.
“RCZ run a conservation farming group,” Alfred says. “Every week they help us. We meet and they teach us good farming techniques and teach us about putting nutrients back into the soil. I am in the savings group and I took a loan to buy a pump. Now, my harvest is so good I can pay back the money I borrowed. With the money from my crops, my brothers and my sisters will go to school and will finish school and my baby son will also go to school.
“Now, my family has dreams. My brother wants to be a doctor and my sisters both want to be health teachers. My wife will also have good care from the local health facility when she has a baby.”
It might surprise you to learn that the improvements in Alfred’s situation were only possible due to the faithful support of a child sponsor here in Australia. Through child sponsorship, health and livelihood education programs are set up within villages with the intention to directly benefit children. Who better to provide for children than their own parents and carers? Through agricultural training and income generation activities parents can ensure their children receive an education and nutritious meals and they have the means to care for their children if they get sick. Using this method of child centred community development, entire villages are empowered to lift themselves out of poverty and are free to experience the fullness of life that God desires for every person.
When you sponsor a child, you are not just helping your one, sponsored child – you are actually helping whole villages! It means the child you sponsor is growing up in a healthy environment and a healthy community. Child Sponsorship is an incredibly powerful way to say to a child, their family, their whole community, ‘I believe in you. I believe that through my prayers and financial support you will be empowered to lift yourself out of poverty once and for all!’
These days Alfred can’t wipe the smile off his face. His family are healthy and happy and his hard work is paying off. With crops to spare, he is able to make a small but viable income selling vegetables at the market.
As one sponsored child wrote recently in a letter, “I thank God for the kindness of our sponsor who is always part of my success. I hope that you will also be able to help other children so that they will be blessed like me!”
There are many other children and families around the world in desperate need of someone to walk alongside them prayerfully and financially. Will you commit to say, ‘I believe in you’ and take action today to become a child sponsor? For just $44 a month you can be love and end poverty for one child, their family and their whole community.

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