Brian Rose with his sponsored child Zakayo and family during a recent visit to Kenya.
I have been a World Vision sponsor for many years and have always heard and known about the wonderful work that everybody at World Vision do for the children of the world. I also met with Tim Costello and heard from him about how the work covers not only supporting the child but the community they live in.
I have always had a special spot for Kenya and therefore when the opportunity to sponsor a child, Kenya was the country I settled on. Since then I have had a couple of long term sponsorships in Kenya, Zakayo being the latest, who we have sponsored since he was five (now he is 17).
I first visited Zakayo in 2012 and my main memory of that visit is the open, friendly welcome I received, which I found most humbling. Zakayo was a shy, very quiet boy who came up to meet me with his delightful, caring grandma.
I recently embarked on my second visit to meet up again with Zakayo and his grandma in Kenya. Thanks to the great folk at the World Vision Office who looked after me, we all had a great day and it was wonderful to see Zakayo and his grandma again. I found my second visit different from the first in 2012 as the fact I was back again seemed to surprise the community! His grandma who was rather shy during my first visit was more outgoing, as was Zakayo himself. The community people I met were also far more outgoing and we met like old friends, rather than a stranger in their midst. It was gratifying to be asked when I would be returning!
Zakayo has really grown and from looking down on him last visit, it is now Zakayo who is looking down at me. His grandma was as sweet as ever and she loved the gifts I brought her. When you see a young man before you and you remember the little five-year-old that we first met 11 years ago, it makes one realize the honour it is for us sponsors, through World Vision, to be able to help these children to hopefully realize their dreams. In the case of Zakayo, he wants to be a doctor.
I found the whole experience uplifting and amazing. I’m excited to say I’ll be going back to visit Zakayo for the third time in November!
I write as much as I can using the World Vision website to send him emails which are passed onto him. I love receiving his letters and photos that come along every so often. It is fascinating to look over the photos I have of Zakayo from the first one we received to the latest, including those I took on my last trip and see the development of this young man over the past 12 years. The change from a young shy boy to a more mature young man, who can now express his wishes for his future.
I know my sponsorship has made a difference and I am proud and honoured to be able to do so. Just knowing I am in a very small way helping someone grow and develop along with their community, to reach the goals they are setting for themselves, knowing that someone outside their immediate family actually cares.
If someone was thinking about sponsoring a child, I’d tell them to do it. It is the most rewarding and non-expensive way to show someone they are loved and cared about.