Children: Give them freedom from poverty

I held this cute baby in Bangladesh, happy to know this child would not grow up in extreme poverty because of FH's work.

America is celebrating the Fourth of July to remember the gift of freedom. I find myself thinking of ways to celebrate the freedoms I enjoy. And not just freedoms of speech or religion, but a life of without the oppression of poverty.

A great way to celebrate our freedom is to teach our children about the world through child sponsorship. We can help children in the developing world find freedom from poverty through education.

Sponsorship is a proven strategy to overcome the horrible enslavement that poverty has on so many children around the world. We can be a part of it simply by sponsoring a child.

Our family’s decision to be abolish poverty for children

When I heard the statistic that 18,000 children die every day from hunger and hunger related causes – I was appalled. I literally would jump out of my chair and tell everyone I knew that something must be done to stop this.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by statistics and ask the question, “What can I really do to change it?”

But we can do something – even if it is only one thing.

One of my all time favorite Helen Keller quotes is: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.

So, as a family, my husband, children and I have made the choice to sponsor children and bring an end to poverty for a few. We know we can’t save the world, but we believe we are able to make a difference in the life of one or two children enslaved by poverty.

Meet Sam Odongo

The day Sam and I met face to face.

In Uganda, Sam Odongo’s community was tortured by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA came through Sam’s community and burned houses, captured children and left survivors traumatized.

Sam and I met when he was 5 years old.

I first saw him from across the room on a Food for the Hungry child sponsorship table. I could see his chubby little cheeks on his sponsor packet. It was as if it jumped off the table right in my hands. I had lost all of my senses, and I couldn’t help but sponsor him.

Seven years later, he is 12 years old and his community is beginning to thrive. Because of child sponsorship, Sam’s family has received a goat to breed for additional family income. Also, mothers in the community have learned to sew, and Sam has been blessed with an education. He’s doing well at school and his penmanship improves with each letter he writes. Through sponsorship, Sam is inspired to hope for the future –and one day he could be free from the chains of poverty that has plagued his community for generations.

Free to not marry at age 12

Rhaki and Lota age 8.

Rhaki was 8 years old when my children and I first became her sponsors. In Bangladesh, it is difficult for young girls to remain unmarried past the age of 12.

Rhaki, is almost at age 12, and she’s at risk. My biggest fear is that she will get married too young and won’t have the chance to get a decent education. Without child sponsorship, the risk is high for her becoming a wife to an older man and having children long before her body is ready.

That thought keeps me going – it motivates me to continue my support of her through sponsorship. God sees her. He knows every hair on her head. He has a plan for her. My family, through sponsorship, gets to be a part of God’s good plan for her life. We get to be a part of the process that helps to increase freedom  in her life.

Extend your freedom to help children

Don’t miss the opportunity to change a child’s life!  Make this summer memorable, as you enjoy your freedom and celebrate.  But then, extend your freedom into the life of a child through sponsorship.

If you are a pastor, take this opportunity to host a Justice Sunday  at your church and become a modern day abolitionist that unlocks the chains of poverty for children around the world.





About Heidi Heinrich

Heidi Heinrich, church relationship manager for Food for the Hungry's community-to-community (C2C) program, got her start with Food for the Hungry as a volunteer. She began promoting child sponsorship after being incredibly moved to "just do something" about the poverty she had seen while serving internationally on a team. A mother of two adult children who are pursuing their life's work in serving the poor, Heidi attributes their passion to the impression made through child sponsorship. "It has been a journey." she says, "It all began by sponsoring a child in Bangladesh that led to serving on a team. I am very grateful for the experiences God has given me through sponsorship." She also enjoys art and music, and she is finishing her degree in Human Development through Hope International University.

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