A couple from Wolston have been left humbled following an adventure in India to meet youngsters they sponsor.
Pete and Dee Hickey visited Saila and Aswin, whom they have supported for years through the charity Compassion UK.
Our sponsorship and the love of the staff in their local church project really does change the future for these kids and gives them a fighting chance of reaching their potentialDee Hickey
The pair wanted to meet 19-year-old Saila before she graduates and leaves her Compassion project. While they were in the country, they decided to visit eight-year-old Aswin too.
Pete said: “We hadn’t realised quite how far into the mountains he lives. And we travelled on the worst roads we have ever encountered – sheer drops into ravines, road works and a driver who was quite happy to overtake on blind bends!”
But once there the drive and the half hour walk up a cliff which followed was worth the effort.
Pete said: “We received such a wonderful welcome from Aswin’s mum and all their neighbours. We took them to a theme park and treated them to lunch. It was a simply wonderful day.”
Visiting Saila had an even greater impact on the couple. Pete and Dee were able to visit the project in action and watch the children perform songs and dances.
And visiting Saila’s home and meeting her parents was an emotional moment for Dee. She said: “They dressed me in a Sari and necklace and explained that they were gifts.
“We felt so humbled – this family had so little but were so generous to us. One of the sweetest times was sitting with Saila – she kept stroking my hand and saying, ‘I can’t believe you are here.’ It was very hard to leave. We all shed a few tears.
“It was a trip we’ll never forget. It was so good to see again the work that Compassion does. These children receive not just an education, but access to nutrition, medical care and emotional support. Our sponsorship and the love of the staff in their local church project really does change the future for these kids and gives them a fighting chance of reaching their potential.”
Compassion UK works with over 1.6 million children like Saila and Aswin around the world. They seek out the most vulnerable children and, with the support of individual sponsors, provide them with the means to break the cycle of poverty. Visit http://www.compassionuk.org/