Next weekend I'll be travelling with blogging friend Molly as guests with World Vision to Sierra Leone to visit some of the people who were affected by the Ebola crisis firsthand, hearing about all the amazing projects the communities have started to help themselves. Sierra Leone has now been declared Ebola free but it's left it's mark. Ebola didn't just end lives, it changed them too, leaving survivors and families forever affected. Children lost parents & siblings, seeing the ones they loved the most in the world taken from them by the aggressive and merciless virus. From a family to an orphan, something that's incomprehensible to most of us. On the visit we'll be finding out how child sponsorship is helping keep some of these children safe and helping them get back into school.
Personally I've had a distant relationship with charity on the whole. I have two charities that I have monthly direct debit donations set up to support, neither of which has a personal connection to me, no emotional tie or bond. These donations aren't something I ever really think about and if I'm brutally honest setting them up was as much about making myself feel like a 'good person' as supporting the charities work.
Contributing without a connection is something that many people do. Despite the lack of connection it's still a very positive thing. But what about contributing with a connection?
I've been reading on the World Vision website about child sponsorship, learning that there's a very real way to support a child in a way that's not just giving money but also means becoming involved with that child. Exchanging letters, celebrating birthdays and milestones, watching the difference that the money donated has on the life of that child. It's not just giving money to a charity that you know will help someone somewhere, it's getting to know the exact person that your money will help and seeing how it helps.
I'm really looking forward to finding out more on the visit to Sierra Leone and sharing what a I learn both here and on social media.