Chosen at United – making memories and lasting connections

Kat Walker of World Vision shares what happened when they invited those at United this summer to be Chosen as a sponsor by a child in Uganda.

When I arrived back at the East of England Showground in July, I felt more nostalgic than I was expecting. My favourite time of year, in my job at World Vision, is the summer. When I’m working at events like United – meeting people and sharing the amazing work of World Vision – I am energised and inspired in equal measure.

At the start of the week we opened a unique invitation to the New Wine family – to have your photo taken, to sign up to be Chosen, and give a child the chance to choose YOU as their sponsor. Chosen Sponsorship gives children the power to take hold of their future, to create change in their own lives, and to transform their community. You might have heard my colleague Simon speaking in the Arena – sharing the powerful prayer that World Vision was founded on over 70 years ago – “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”

At World Vision, we work together with communities to tackle the root causes of poverty. First, we work with local leaders and families to understand their struggles and the areas where they need support. Together, we focus on helping the most vulnerable children in the greatest need – those at risk of the worst poverty, exploitation, and abuse.

Then we create a plan to transform the community into a safe place, where children are cared for and protected, long into the future. This maximises the impact of your sponsorship – empowering communities to break free from poverty and become self-sustaining.

Each sponsorship will help children and the entire community with the essentials they need to build a better future, such as clean water, education, healthcare facilities, nutritious food, protection, and job opportunities for parents to improve their income. Because of our community focused approach, for every one child who is sponsored, another four benefit.

Across the week, we journeyed with each of you as you waited with anticipation. Chosen was connecting every person who signed up in the community at Peterborough to a community thousands of miles away in Uganda. Midway through the week our colleagues in Uganda hosted a party and invited children to come and choose their own sponsor as part of our long-term commitment to the community of Pajule.

At the end of the week, we came back together for the final Morning Celebration together. Along one wall, there were hundreds of envelopes. Each envelope had the name of a sponsor on, and inside was a photograph of the child who had chosen them, along with a letter explaining why. It was very emotional, with tears of joy as people opened their envelopes – something I’ll remember for a long time.

My colleague Jeremiah Nyagah, Programmes Director at World Vision Uganda, said:
“In my 16 years working for World Vision I have never experienced something as transformational as Chosen. From the moment you give a child the chance to choose their sponsor, their future opens up to more choices and chances — as they’re empowered to change their lives, their community, and their futures for good.”

The connections forged between the New Wine family and the community of Pajule have begun with those children choosing their sponsors – perhaps the first choice they have ever been invited to make. We are delighted to be able to share Chosen with churches too.

If you would like to find out more about how you can bring this unique experience to your local community get in touch with the World Vision team via email or call 01908 84 10 10.