Ever since she was a child, Waterford woman Lisa Power had a social conscience. Constantly aware of what was happening in the world, she would routinely give money to charity.
After a few years, however, she felt something was missing. She was giving money to charity in sporadic, one-off payments but never knew exactly where the money went or what impact it had.
“I did some research online and I came across Plan International. They had this method of donation where you sponsor a child and give a small amount every month and the money would go towards making the child’s life better, improving the facility they go to, that kind of thing,” she said.
“It really appealed to me so I started sponsoring a child and I was lucky enough to be assigned to Christopher, a two-year-old boy from Uganda.”
At first, Christopher was too young to thank Lisa, but as he grew older he would send her drawings and the two would exchange cards for Christmas and birthdays.
A few months ago, Lisa turned 40 and decided she wanted nothing more than to spend the special day with Christopher.
“It was something I was always going to do anyway, but for my 40th I just wanted to be away from home and it just felt like the perfect time for me”.
“It was a very, very surreal. I was absolutely overwhelmed by everything I saw there.”
Lisa said she wanted to bring some presents for Christopher, but also wanted to get him something he needed which, she was told, was a mattress. Moved by this basic need, Lisa went out and bought five mattresses, one for each member of Christopher’s family.
Lisa said visiting Christopher was one of the best experiences of her life and is planning to go back to Uganda in five years time.
Meanwhile, fellow Munster woman, Emily Hosford, is still in Uganda and will be there until the end of the year. Emily, who is from Ballyorgan, Co Limerick, travelled over to meet her Plan International sponsored child Phiona, who just turned 16.
“Finally getting to meet Phiona and her family in their village in Kamuli was an unforgettable experience. I was overwhelmed by the joy that my sponsor visit brought to Phiona and her community. They thanked me over and over again but I felt that I was the lucky one,” she said.
“I felt so privileged to receive their warm welcome and to see the benefits that my sponsorship brings to her area first hand.”
For more information on Plan International, or to sponsor a child, go to www.plan.ie.
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