Dunbar resident Natasha McClintick has just returned from Rwanda where she met Monique, the child she has been sponsoring over two years, through child development charity, Compassion UK.
19-year-old Natasha, a student at the University of Dundee, travelled to Rwanda with her local church, Dunbar Parish Church, which has a partnership with Living Church based in Kibungo, south-eastern Rwanda.
“Meeting Monique was an emotional experience. It was so humbling to be welcomed into her home and share stories, gifts and food with her family,” said the primary teaching student.
12-year-old Monique lives on the plains of Gatare, less than a mile north-east of Kibungo. Homes in her neighbourhood are typically constructed of dirt or cement floors, mud or brick walls and tin roofs.
Most adults in Gatare work as day labourers, in domestic service, as subsistence farmers or market traders and earn the equivalent of £10 per month.
Natasha said: “I also got to visit a Compassion project and met the staff who work with Monique, I was so impressed by the difference they make to the children’s lives.
“Last year Monique suffered from malaria and was able to receive the essential medical treatment she needed to make a full recovery. She can now grow into a healthy, confident young woman.”
In Rwanda, nearly one in ten children die before their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes such as pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea and chronic malnutrition.
Malaria remains a major killer in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in West and Central Africa, where it accounts for 13 per cent of under-five deaths; in Eastern and Southern Africa, malaria accounts for 5 percent of under-five deaths.
Natasha’s sponsorship of £25 a month enables Monique to be part of his local Compassion project where she receives nutritious meals, emotional support, medical attention, health screenings and the chance to get a good quality education. Natasha added: “I would really recommend child sponsorship, the experience will not only change the life of the child and their family but your life too.”
n For more details or to sponsor a child visit www.compassionuk.org