PRIOR to the pandemic, one of the things that we really enjoyed at Living Water Adopt-A-Child was taking groups of sponsors and supporters to visit our programmes in Guatemala and Albania. They were able to see the work of the ministry first-hand, experience something of the life and culture of the people of the country and, best of all, visit their sponsored child and their family in their home.
Being able to take people to see how their money is used is very important to us and makes sure that we are accountable for everything that we do. Sponsors could see the food being prepared, transported to the programmes and served to the children. They saw how gift money is accounted for, gifts bought, taken to the programmes for delivery to the children and ‘Thank You’ letters written. They were able to see how the Annual Update information is collected, translated and sent on to the national offices for sending out to sponsors.
All of this helps to build trust between us and the people who support us and the children in Guatemala and Albania. It also inspires many of them to promote the work of the ministry in their local communities when they return home again.
We really missed being able to take groups to Guatemala and Albania during 2020 and 2021 when the pandemic was at its height and our staff teams, the children and families there really missed the encouragement that having visitors from the supporting countries brings. We were delighted, therefore, to be able to take some groups back to Guatemala and Albania in 2022.
And what a change our visitors this year were able to see, particularly in Albania! Whereas we have restarted the programmes using the same model we had before in Guatemala, in Albania we have completely changed the way we do things. We no longer serve children with an individual meal twice a week but have instead carried on the provision of the food boxes we provided during the pandemic, which benefit the whole family and is in line with what families told us was best for them. So now visitors to our programmes in Albania can see what goes into the food boxes that we provide, help with the distribution of the boxes if they are there when they are ready for delivery, and get involved in all the church meetings that started up at all our centres over the last couple of years and take place each week for children, youth, ladies and men. We had two groups visiting Albania in June and October this year and everyone was thrilled to see 40, 50 or 60+ enthusiastic young people coming along to the meetings and joining in all the activities.
A small group visited Guatemala in November and were delighted to see all the programmes up and running once again, the children were happy to be back receiving their hot meals and meeting together in the classes afterwards. The visitors were also able to see the progress being made with our newest programme in Chulumal, where the site is now all cleared, and fenced off and the foundations of the new building started. We are so pleased to be able to offer our sponsors and supporters the opportunity to visit the programmes for themselves again.
To find out more about the work of Living Water Adopt-A-Child and how you could help, visit our website: https://www.livingwateradoptachild.org/uk/.