Archives For World Vision & Child Sponsorship

Caregiver Kits

andyallen —  February 2, 2011 — 1 Comment

When I was in Africa, I met a group of incredibly special people…they are called Caregivers.  The Caregivers are volunteers.  They go into their communities and love on the people who are ill because of HIV/AIDS.

In the regions we visited, so many people were sick with HIV/AIDS.  This horrific disease is affecting people of all ages, without prejudice, and leaves most of them to suffer and die alone.  That is where the Caregivers come in.  They visit the sick, talk to them, rub ointment on their open sores and most importantly, love them!

World Vision has recognized and helped mobilize the Caregivers.  They are training and educating the Caregivers while providing them with the necessary supplies and tools to help those who are suffering.  One key resource they help provide are Caregiver Kits.

Caregiver Kits are purchased through donations and assembled by volunteers here in the US.  In fact, most are provided by individuals in community groups, churches and through corporate team-building programs.  The Caregiver Kits contain latex gloves, petroleum jelly, soap, washcloths, anti-fungal cream, flashlights w/ batteries, pain relievers, water purification tablets and more…all things that the Caregivers use when caring for those affected by AIDS.

Recently, I had the opportunity to help assemble 300 Caregiver Kits with a group of World Vision Artists.  You pack 1 case and 4 refill kits…this gives a Caregiver the supplies they need for one year.  Before we closed up a case or refill kit we were able to add a handwritten note of encouragement to the Caregiver.  It was incredible!

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A Reminder At The Riverwalk

andyallen —  January 28, 2011 — 2 Comments

This past week I had the privilege of attending the World Vision Artist Conference in San Antonio. This annual conference continues to be a highlight in my year.  I’ve formed some great friendships with other WV Artists and I’m always deeply impacted as I see the work World Vision is doing to serve the poor.

My heart has been broken yet again by the poverty and need in our world.  Too many people are living under the weight of hunger, HIV/AIDS and preventable disease.  My soul is encouraged tho, because there is hope when we all do something to help out.  I was particularly taken by one thing someone said at the conference:

“How humbling that we get to care for the least of these and treat them like the most!”

This was an encouraging reminder to me that my work with World Vision and sponsorship does make a difference.  There are many ways we can all help out and I’ll be exploring some of those in the coming weeks here on my blog.  I’m personally a believer in the power of Child Sponsorship.  You can find out more about sponsorship by clicking more HERE.

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Note From Thailand

andyallen —  January 7, 2011 — Leave a comment

This week we got a Christmas card and letter from our sponsored child in Thailand. We’ve been sponsoring Pornjaratsri for about 6 years now and she’s growing into such a beautiful young woman.

Many families in her rural community are very poor subsistence farmers or factory workers. Through sponsors like us, World Vision is helping provide the basic needs for Pornjaratsri and her family as well as helping the community with agricultural occupational promotions to help families increase their income and become self-reliant. Through this assistance they’re farming the Hungary Mushroom, a product to sell at market and the leftover as healthy food for their family.

A couple years back, Pornjaratsri sent us a note that said, “Thank you for sponsoring me. Because of you I have tomorrow.” I’ll admit that I don’t fully understand how much our sponsorship means to these kids and their families, but I’m reminded again that our small contribution is making a life-changing impact on people around the world…and I’m glad I can help and do something to love on people I will probably never meet.

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Water ::: Blog Action Day

andyallen —  October 15, 2010 — Leave a comment

Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event giving bloggers around the world a chance to use our platform to make a dent in poverty and need around our world. This year’s topic is Water. Today my blog is dedicated to the work World Vision is doing to provide hope to the widow and the orphan.

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Watching the World Cup this past week has introduced me, along with many Americans, to the Vuvuzela.  This small, inexpensive piece of molded plastic is the deafening noisemaker quickly becoming the soundtrack in my mind for the World Cup experience.  The droning sound is the audio backdrop while announcers call the play-by-play as the world watches (and listens to) this exciting tournament.

As I watched the first USA match I was quickly annoyed by the sound, so I lit up a Google search to find out what the heck was up with that buzzing on my TV.  It was immediately clear that I was not the only one aware of the noise.  FIFA had considered banning the Vuvuzela but had opted not to because it is a large part of South Africa’s cultural engagement with soccer.  Fair enough, but I still find the sound annoying…just sayin’.

With the World Cup being played out in South Africa, this brings back memories of my trips to Johannesburg, South Africa and Lesotho with World Vision.  It was impossible for me to not fall in love with the people there.  They are absolutely beautiful.  I was thinking about the Vuvuzela and how I just don’t get it and that has sparked memories of a couple experiences we had in Africa.  These experiences really exposed how our different cultural backgrounds affect the way we perceive and approach an identical situation.

There were two similar occasions on our trips where we identified a real hardship within extremely poor communities.  Our teams quickly assessed the need and worked out excellent solutions for assistance…at least from our “logical” western perspective.  As we presented our plans to local humanitarian leaders, we were shocked to find that they strongly disagreed with our assessment, not of the need, but of the remedy.  They were grateful that we cared enough to help, but cautious to follow through with the aid only in ways that best served the culture and community.  I completely missed it.

From my enlightened and educated perch, I had observed adversity brought on by desperate conditions.  My ignorance was completely evident in my failure to consider what mattered deeply to the people I wanted to love and assist, their cultural perceptions and reality.  I’m very thankful for the lessons I learned and the people who gently guided me through these sensitive situations.  My tendency is still to rush into assessments and offer up solutions, but these experiences have helped me to find pause and work to consider things from another perspective.

So while I’m not really a fan of the incessant blowing of the Vuvuzela throughout the entire soccer match, I’m definitely cool with adapting and appreciating it for the celebration it is within the African culture.  It’s exciting to see the global community rally around this event and observe competition and kindness exemplified through sportsmanship.

At our house we’re screaming GO USA!!!