“Every kid around the world has potential,” says Kate, “but not everyone has the chance to develop it.”
Max and Kate are powerful examples of our next generation of changemakers. In 2014, the siblings had already been sponsoring children in Ethiopia for three years when they signed up to be sponsors of our brand new program in Uganda. Through the years, the pair has loved exchanging letters with sponsored children and learning about what it’s like to be a kid thousands of miles away from their home in Connecticut.
Though their sponsorship experience differs (they each sponsor kids the same age and gender as themselves), Max and Kate have a common takeaway … they both want children to be able to grow up in an environment where they’re given a fair chance to reach their potential. “That means ensuring they have a steady education, clean running water, food and proper sewage systems,” says Max.
Kate says she’s seen the difference letters can make for sponsored girls with tough lives. “Giving children everywhere equal opportunities is a big challenge, but my way to contribute is by sponsoring Mahlet in Ethiopia and Juliana in Uganda,” she says. “Through my sponsorship, Mahlet and Juliana are given a chance to achieve their dreams … not many kids around them have that chance.”
As for Max, he’s hoping to make a difference by launching a Save the Children club at his school. “The goal of our club would be not only to raise money from fundraisers but also to form pen pal relationships between students and kids from different countries around the world.”
“I’m helping other kids have a good life and it can spread on forever,” Antonella says.
At just 10 years old, Antonella already knows what she’s passionate about – changing kids lives for the better. She also knows that the more other kids pitch in, the bigger the difference they can make together.
That’s why, for the past three years, she’s been leading a group called “Kids Supporting Kids” and making a difference in her community by gathering food, books and toys for children in need. “I want to help kids who don’t have an education or the things that are important in life,” she says.
Antonella’s youth advocacy efforts don’t stop there. Her family also sponsors two girls – one her younger sister’s age and one her age. Through child sponsorship, the sisters are able to learn about what it’s like to be a girl in a different part of the world. “I believe in girl power and that girls deserve the same freedom as boys,” says young Antonella.
Antonella wants girls to be able to determine their own future, no matter where they live. She’s even shown her support for girls’ empowerment by participating in Save the Children’s annual International Day of the Girl celebrations in New York City … not once but twice!
“I definitely felt inspired by how they live a poor life but they have so much fun – they’re always happy,” says Sacha. “We get upset about the strangest things … but they’re thankful for what they have.”
Sacha may only be 11 years old, but he knows a thing or two about ‘aha’ moments. He had several last fall while visiting Chimdi, the boy his family sponsors in Ethiopia. Sacha’s dad works at Save the Children’s headquarters, so when he learned about an upcoming conference in Africa, he invited both his father and son to join him on a trip of a lifetime.
After exchanging letters with 10-year-old Chimdi for so many years, Sacha wasn’t sure what to expect when they finally met in person at Chimdi’s school in the remote Ethiopian countryside. Sacha knew his and Chimdi’s lives were very different before his trip, but seeing Chimdi’s life up close was an eye-opening experience.
“Chimdi’s school is different than mine,” Sacha explains. “We only have about 25 kids in a class and he has at least 70. Every classroom was made of wood or clay and there were no windows or desks or binders. And you walk outside to get to the bathroom instead of through a connected hallway. Since there aren’t many cars, they all walk to school and it takes about 30 minutes.”
Sacha’s dad’s favorite part of the visit was seeing Chimdi’s teacher in action. “Sponsorship supports a lot of teacher training,” he says, “so for me, what matters most is teachers doing their very best.”
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