Home / News / News archive / 2012 / May 2012 / A memorable experience: visiting my sponsored child

India is home to 1.2 billion people, yet one out of every three girls growing up here will not finish primary school, and 40% of its adults cannot read or write. You can give a child an education and a happy childhood by sponsoring a child in one of our 34 SOS Children's Villages in India. … more about our charity work in India

A memorable experience: visiting my sponsored child

Mark and his partner with his sponsored child Amir and family
Mark and his partner with his sponsored child Amir and family

Mark Mitchinson, a child sponsor with SOS Children UK recently paid a visit to his sponsored child Amir in India. Here, he describes his visit and why he recommends our charity to others.

"Several years ago for a family Christmas present I decided to sponsor a child through SOS Children. I chose SOS Children because I wanted to support a charity that allows a child to grow up in an environment that they are familiar with. 

Amir, from India, became my sponsored child. His mother had died in Kashmir and his father was unable to care for him, his two brothers and his sister, so they all moved into SOS Children’s Village Jammu.

Last year, my partner and I were lucky enough to visit India and make a trip to Jammu in Northern India where the Village is situated.  We were made to feel at home straight away by the Village Secretary.

After a compulsory cup of tea, we were taken to meet Amir, his SOS mother and his family. We were greeted by a shy little boy full of excitement. It is an experience I will never forget. The family had prepared a very special afternoon tea (fizzy drink and potato chips) for both Hayley and I. So special was the morning tea they did not want to have any themselves but encouraged us to keep eating. Amir’s sister also prepared a traditional Indian rice dessert for us, which was very tasty.

The house was very clean and well run by the SOS mother, who the children adored. Amir was able to stay with both of his brothers and his sister in the same house, another reason why I support SOS Children. It was also very special to see that even though that the Jammu area is majority Hindi, and that 16 out of 17 of the Village’s houses are Hindi, they still have a Muslim house for the children who have been brought up with this religion.

After eating, we were shown around the very well-kept school grounds, next to the school building. Amir showed us his classroom where he, like I was at school, is often distracted. We gave the kids a few small gifts that will help them with their learning and increase their chances at being the next Sachin Tendulkar. The smiles on their faces make us regret that we hadn’t done more.

I look forward to following Amir’s progress throughout the years and hope to be able to help out where needed. I would recommend SOS Children to anyone else wanting to sponsor a child. If you ever have the opportunity to visit your sponsored child, I would thoroughly recommend the memorable experience."

Find out how you can change a child's life through child sponsorship.