Not many people know this but my dream job (other than to coach the South African Cricket Team) has always been to teach sport to underprivileged children. After years of living in London and not doing anything to even contribute to these same children I decided to finally get off my butt and do something about it! So, since February 2010 I have been sponsoring a little boy in Harare, Zimbabwe. His name is Brian and he is part of the family that makes the world’s largest orphan and abandoned children’s charity, SOS Children, so special.
I was first made aware of SOS Children in January 2010 and above all I loved the fact that I could be incredibly specific in terms of who I wanted my money to go to. The fact that I was able to choose a Children’s Village in Harare, Zimbabwe, and choose a child under the age of 5, both of which were very important to me, meant that I can be a lot more involved in the growth and development of this child throughout their life.
In September I was thrilled to be able to visit Brian whilst on a trip home for a best friend’s wedding. It meant a lot to me that I could meet him and I was really excited, although at 5 years old I figured Brian would not be quite as thrilled to meet me as he would be to meet my God-Daughter Savanna (also 5), so I took her and her Mum Sarah along with me. Having pre-arranged it, the whole SOS family were waiting to meet us and I couldn’t have felt more welcome. All of Brian’s SOS brothers and sisters – 11 of them in total – were dressed in some of their best outfits and we all sat around in their lounge for a chat with them and their SOS mother, Clara.
As Brian lives with so many other children they prefer it if you don’t bring a present just for one child so I bought them all a load of crayons and colouring books, one of those baby sized space hoppers and a game of Twister…fun for the whole family. We had such a great afternoon there; Brian just managed to beat Savanna in Twister and everyone had fun seeing how flexible they really were! Whilst the kids all ran around the garden competing in running races and generally doing what kids do best, Clara showed Sarah and I around their small 4 bedroom house, and fantastic vegetable garden complete with a solar cooker.
At this particular Children’s Village there are around 200 orphans, and, as you’d imagine, some of the stories we were told were heartbreaking. It is so unbelievably hard to understand how horrific someone’s situation must be if they can just admit their little baby into a hospital and then never return to pick them up again. Just as sad is that many of the children’s parents are still in the area and just don’t want them anymore. With SOS, all these children have hope and a chance, and they are not left to fend for themselves on the streets of Harare.
As well as being able to visit Brian whenever I am able, I also receive two letters a year from Harare with news on how he is doing, which includes a recent photo of him. For as little as £20 a month I am very proud to be involved with such a fantastic charity and I look forward to watching Brian and his whole SOS family grow up.
You too can make a real difference to a child’s life through sponsorship. Find out more.