So I was originally saving this challenge for a later month, but decided to change it after today. A bunch of my friends and I visited a Step into Africa exhibition at a local church, which was set up by World Vision. It was an incredible experience, and I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go through the exhibit or host it in their town to do it! They set up this whole thing that you walk through. Every person is assigned a child from Africa and a set of headphones. You walk through the exhibit and listen to their story, learning about how AIDS has affected their lives.
You can learn more about it by watching the videos you'll find here. It struck a chord with me because it was such an interactive experience. I got to hear a true story about a young girl in Africa. Her name was Mathabo and her father died when she was very young. At around 6 years old, her mother sent her to the market place to get a treat. When she came back her mother wasn't there, she had left to find work in South Africa. Her older brother began to abuse her, but he, too, left eventually. She wouldn't have survived if it weren't for a World Vision representative allowing her to stay in her house, feeding her, paying for her education, and keeping her safe. When Mathabo's mother returned from South Africa, she was deathly ill. Mathabo cared for her and prayed for her, but her mother refused to get tested for aids. The World Vision representative eventually told Mathabo that she needed to be tested because she'd been tending to her mother's open wounds without gloves. (In the exhibit we actually sat in a clinic and went to a window where a man stamped our hands with either a positive or negative sign). Thankfully, she did not have AIDS, but the disease eventually killed her mother and she was left alone.
These children throughout Africa are desperate. Most have at least one parent missing, if not two. In some cases they are completely dependent on organizations that pay for their education, food, water, clothing, etc., and there are thousands of them.
World Vision helps children by allowing people like us to sponsor them. You can pick who you sponsor, and they have children from countries around the world that need help. If you sponsor a child you receive annual progress reports and updated photos, and you also have the opportunity to send and receive letters to and from the child you sponsor.