Donegal woman, Marie McFadden, has returned to Ireland following an life changing trip where she witnessed the work of World Vision Ireland programmes in Swaziland, Africa.
Marie, who is from Falcarragh, has sponsored a child with World Vision for a number of years and was fascinated to see how sponsorship money is used to improve the lives of so many.
“I didn’t know what to expect before I arrived in Swaziland. I was slightly worried about what I was about to witness but I am so glad I decided to take this trip. It has been so interesting to see how money contributed by Irish sponsors has been used to change the lives of so many here. Mother’s and their children can now attend a local medical clinic where before they may have had no access to health care at all. I visited a school where World Vision Ireland funding had built classrooms. Before this intervention some of the classes were taught their lessons outdoors under the shelter of trees. Its very heartening to see how far my small monthly contribution has gone.” said Marie.
“It was heartbreaking at times to meet with women, often grandmothers, who are struggling to look after many young grandchildren after losing their own children to HIV/AIDS. It was encouraging to see what World Vision has done with the funding it receives through child sponsorship but so much more needs to be done. It costs €25 euro a month to sponsor a child, that’s just over €5 a week. I know times are hard for many people in Ireland now but after witnessing how life changing that money can be in places like this, I would urge anyone even considering child sponsorship to contact World Vision.” she added.
World Vision supports communities rather than just the sponsored children though sponsorship funding. It has worked with the local community in Swaziland setting up credit services (like credit unions) and business set up training programmes to encourage small business start ups and create employment. Local farmers have been trained in food preservation and preparation techniques. As Swaziland has the world’s highest HIV infection rate, with 26.3% of the adult population infected, World Vision has set up HIV/AIDS education programmes. 10,800 young people attended these sessions in 2010 alone. Marie and the group of sponsors she travelled with witnessed World Vision’s work in Swaziland. She met with women and children affected by HIV/AIDS and visited the Kholwane health clinic, Mbanjana Primary School and many other programmes supported by World Vision thanks to monies raised through child sponsorship in Ireland.