Child sponsorship is the core of what we do at Adopt-A-Child, but we also have other projects that people can support. One of these is our M25 Project, helping older people in the community.
The name comes from a Bible verse from Matthew, Chapter 25 – ’When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat; when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink’, but the original inspiration for this project came from a lovely lady called Maria.
Maria was in her 80s and cared for her grand-daughter, also Maria, who has learning difficulties. Young Maria comes along to our feeding programme in Chuchuca in the mountains of Guatemala. She is 20 years old but has the mental age of a 4-year-old. Her father abandoned the family when she was young and her mother left her care in the hands of her grandmother. She has to walk for around 2 hours to get from her home to the feeding programme and, as she can’t make that journey on her own, grandmother Maria accompanies her each time she comes.
One day, young Maria’s sponsor was visiting them in their home. Our Guatemala Director, Steve, was there too, translating for them.
Grandma Maria asked to speak to Steve and said:
“I have to walk for two hours to bring Maria to the programme and then we have to walk two hours home again. I understand that you have rules you have to keep to, but please could I have just one tortilla to give me the energy for the walk home.”
As Steve looked at her, the verse from Matthew 25 came into his mind and he knew that we had to do something for these vulnerable older people too. ‘No, you can’t have one tortilla’, he told her, ‘you can have a full meal.’
So now we have ‘Women in Need’ who are registered in our programmes and come along and receive a meal to take home with them. They are available to be sponsored, just like the children, for £20 per month – you can find some of them on the sponsorship section of our website www.adopt-a-child.com.
Our Churches in two of the villages where we have programmes, Duenas and Jocotenango, also open their doors once a month and provide a hot meal and some friendly company for some of the most vulnerable adults in these communities. It is hoped that we will be able to roll this out to other areas in the future.
Sadly Grandma Maria passed away recently, but she inspired a lasting legacy which will benefit many older people in her community and beyond for years to come.