Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Power of Sponsorship

Sarah just finished her pre-school year at the Kibera School for Girls. She is exceptionally sweet, affectionate, bright, and has a smile that can make any of us melt in an instant. You simply cannot help but love this little girl who is constantly reaching to hold your hand. We originally thought Sarah had a degenerative eye disease that was causing her to go blind, but after taking her to an eyecare specialist last year, it was determined that her eyes actually had severe allergies, but no degeneration. These allergies were causing vision impairment, constant rubbing and erosion of the cornea, and pigment leaking into her whole eye, making it appear extremely dark. A recent visit from an optometrist at the school made us question Sarah's previous diagnosis. Once again, Sarah needed to see an opthamologist. Primary healthcare is covered by the general sponsorship program, which goes a very long way in Kibera. Unfortunately, specialist care is expensive and beyond what the school’s budget can afford for primary healthcare coverage of our girls.


Luckily, by some twist of fate, Sarah had been matched with an unusually generous and doting sponsor. This sponsor had previously reached out to offer any additional aid Sarah might need – especially for her eyes. When we realized that Sarah urgently needed to see a specialist last week because her eyesight had gotten worse, I contacted Sarah’s sponsor to ask for help. I got an immediate, positive response. It felt amazing to tell Sarah that we were going to help her see better. And as I held Sarah’s hand on the way to the eye doctor, I told her about Margot -- her special sponsor who loved and cared about her all the way from America, and was helping us take her to the doctor. She looked up at me and Sammy and smiled her priceless smile. Thanks to sponsors like Margot, we can get our wonderful girls the help they truly need and deserve.

This week, 25 new students will start at the Kibera School for Girls. Most of them will be in the pre-school class, and a few will be filling open spots in the three older classes. All of them are in need of sponsors (photos to be posted soon on our website). The Sponsorship Program is a fantastic way to get involved in the Kibera School for Girls. Sponsors get matched to a specific girl in need, and provide their child with nutritious food, uniforms, and primary healthcare. In return, sponsors receive bi-annual updates about the student, as well as hand-written letters from their child. Some supporters have also found that a year of sponsorship funds can make a meaningful gift for a loved one! If you are interested in sponsorship, please email me at: Leah@hopetoshine.org.

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