Smile - it's the International Day of Happiness! Photo by Jo Currie, World Vision
Did you know that March 20th is the International Day of Happiness? It’s a day to celebrate the good things – and this year the focus is on the connections we form with other people. At World Vision, we’re lucky to work with incredible, happy people all around the world. Today we’re sharing stories of people who have reminded us of true happiness.
Laura Tay – Social Media Content Coordinator
I met Poonam and Kajal during a World Vision trip to India in 2012. With support from World Vision, these two sisters were passionate advocates for education and had become leaders in their community. I think of these two on the International Day of Happiness because of the simple joy that education can bring. They were also two of the happiest, most enthusiastic people I have ever met – they welcomed us like family and treated us like friends.
Christy Fellner – Country Program Coordinator, Ethiopia and Ghana
I met Amir 3 years ago on my first visit to Ethiopia. He was the ADP manager for an Australian funded ADP in Northern Ethiopia. Amir is so passionate about the work he does and loves that World Vision is a child focussed organization. Whenever you see him with children in the ADP they smile and laugh. Amir was a sponsored child and gives credit to World Vision for helping him and his family. He decided he wanted to work for World Vision and make an even bigger difference in the lives of children because he saw firsthand what worked and what didn’t. Amir is a reminder to me that when we do something for the good of others it comes back to us and often impacts our lives in an even more positive way. In the same way when we share our happiness with others it only grows and makes the world a better and brighter place.
Louise Acheson – Social Media Manager
This is Esther, pictured with one of our Blog Ambassadors, Eden Riley, who we met on our recent trip to Uganda. She greeted us with a huge smile, very exuberant singing and lots of dancing! She is part of a World Vision savings group, set up to offer local women the opportunity to learn to save and borrow money for starting small businesses, or healthcare as needed. She spoke with pride at the work she was doing and of being part of the savings group, exuding both a seriousness of the important task in hand and an immense pride at the work. Not only was her incredibly beautiful dress enough to make anyone who met her smile, but she was an incredibly joyful person to spend time with!
Brian Hilton – Food Security Advisor
The person I think of on the International Day of Happiness is a grandmother that I met in Rwanda. Her son and daughter in law died from HIV/AIDS and she is raising five grandchildren on her own. One grandson is sponsored by someone in Australia. The grandmother received a cow from World Vision as a loan. You can see that the cow has a calf in the background, which the grandmother will pay back to World Vision to pay off her debt. The milk provided by the cow is helping the family earn an income, and supplying good nutrition to the children.
Mark Harwood – Project Model Learning and Support Manager
Just last week I had the pleasure of meeting Wilbur and his son, who are lead farmers in his village on the remote island of Pentecost, Vanuatu.
World Vision is helping communities increase their incomes on Pentecost island by connecting them to markets through LVCD and implementing Savings Groups. As Wilbur and his son are already supplying their amazing watermelons, sweet potatoes and peanuts to supermarkets and restaurants on other islands (including Port Vila’s largest supermarket!), we are going to get them to provide farmer training to the Pentecost communities that World Vision is supporting to help them improve the quality and quantity of their products so they too can provide to such markets and increase their incomes.
Wilbur was constantly smiling, even when we were caught out by a sudden tropical thunderstorm in his field and only had Vanuatu’s natural umbrella to keep us dry. It was one of those downpours where you hear the rain coming over the hill before you see it!
Suzy Sainovski – Senior Field Resources Advisor
I met Margaret on the last day of my first trip to Africa with World Vision in 2008. Margaret shared with me some of the challenges of being a widow. “When you’re a couple, you have two brains to work with to solve problems and plan, but as a single person you have to think about everything yourself including taking care of the children. With the support of World Vision, it’s like I have two brains now!” I just love that quote. I’ve never forgotten Margaret and her enthusiasm. World Vision trained her to grow bananas and pineapples. There were lots of bananas and pineapples growing on her farm. I also remember the beautiful sunflowers growing there. Margaret’s infectious smile, joy and enthusiasm has stayed with me all these years. She had such a passion for learning. She shared, “Even though I am old, I still want to learn, education doesn’t end.” I was so keen for her to continue her learning and planning that I left a blank notebook and some pens with her. I like to imagine she used the notebook I gave her to create exciting plans. She’s definitely one of the happiest people I’ve ever met in the field!