Happy #sponsoredkids Friday! After a lovely vacation last week, I am back in the home office and excited for another Sponsored Kids post. Hope you all have had a great week! I want to start by sharing an encouraging little tidbit I saw on our World Vision account this week: “Your sponsorships are changing the lives of 880 children, lifting 13 communities out of poverty in 5 countries!” How’s that for happy news this Friday? We technically sponsor 220 children, but WV’s support model allows that money to help up to 4 children per every child we choose to sponsor!
This week, I got the joy of opening letters for 4 of our sponsored kiddos (eee!). With the help of community volunteers, their words are translated and written, then sent to us every time we sponsor a new child or write an existing child. Not only does that help create a relationship with us, but it also helps with literacy skills! Here’s a picture of one of the letters (surnames redacted for privacy). I hope it warms your heart like it did mine!
Now, on to my favorite part of the week – Meet the Kids! Today, I’d like you to meet Gnilane. Sept 13 is her birthday, which makes her 10 years old TODAY!
She lives in Niakhar, which, for reference, is about 2.5 hours from the Senegalese capital of Dakar. Her favorite subject is reading (cute!). Her family consists of her mother (housewife), father (farm laborer), and 2 sisters.
Did you know that most victims of human trafficking are enslaved between the ages of 11-14 (if not sooner)? I know that’s a shocking and grim thought, but I bring it up so that when we look at the picture of sweet Gnilane and consider that she’s 10 years old, we might consider the gravity of children her age being slaves of any sort. Unfortunately, trafficking for both sex and labor is a rather large issue in Senegal and disproportionally affects people in poor communities, particularly girls in school. Fortunately, by sponsoring these kids, we are being handed the tools to do something tangible to help. Among many other issues, World Vision is invested in child protection and helping to prevent human trafficking. Their MO is always to work with local leaders to help build stronger communities, ones that will combat issues like this, as well as education, healthcare, etc.
So, the good news: Along with legislation to flight specifically against sex trafficking, leaders in Senegal are trying to advance the “Children’s Code,” a law that will strengthen children’s rights throughout the country (protection from trafficking, avoiding child marriage, lack of education, and poverty that leads to homelessness, etc.). Senegal reelected their current president earlier this year, so please join me in praying that these important laws are put into place by this government. Beyond that though, World Vision is taking smaller, more community-based steps to work towards prevention. Last year, in Gnilane’s area, World Vision helped rehabilitate a large gathering space. That space became a meeting ground for over 6,600 children who were able to discuss issues affecting them and their friends. Then, there was a holiday camp held, in which 100 children learned about their rights and strengthened friendships through plays and lessons about civics and children’s rights. These are tangible ways that help each child like Gnilane feels safer in their community. We helped Niakhar’s children feel safer by giving funds to help host that camp, refurbish that gathering space, and work with community leaders to fight for federally-mandated protection for children. That’s not a small thing.
Challenge: Pray for Senegal’s government and Niakhar’s local leaders to be successful in passing legislation to protect kids!