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Sponsoring success in Zimbabwe: Former sponsored children teach future generations

Split screen of Robson and Sandra in their classrooms.

Meet Robson and Sandra: two people with a lot in common. Both live in Zimbabwe and work as teachers within the Mutare District. Both value education and are happy to be able to share knowledge and inspire local youth. Unfortunately, growing up, both also experienced the challenges of extreme poverty.

“It was hard because my family was a poor family.” Sandra explains, recalling her childhood. “You would admire some other children in their school uniforms wearing socks, and school shoes, whilst walking barefoot, even going to the toilet without shoes.”

Robson also had trying experiences early in life. “One of my parents passed away when I was still young. That was my father. Life, during that time, it was hard for us,” he reflects.

Admirably, both Robson and Sandra were able to overcome these difficulties thanks to their resilience and determination. But there is something else the two have in common, which also helped them arrive where they are today: both Robson and Sandra are former Plan International-sponsored children.

New growth opportunities

“I became a sponsored child when I was in grade 2. I was 8 years old,” says Sandra. “I also enjoyed the benefits of textbooks, being sponsored by Plan. That changed my life because I could study hard.”

Like Sandra, Robson feels that his ability to secure an education and his current career was largely due to the support of his sponsors. “Sponsorship really changed my life, just because those were the ones who were paying school fees,” he says. And now, many years after his sponsorship ended, he sees the impact of that schooling every day when he attends school, this time as the instructor. “As a teacher, I am really enjoying the benefits of Plan,” he smiles.

Sandra explained how her sponsor’s generosity moved her. “I realized it wasn’t a right to be sponsored, but it was a privilege that came my way. So, I thought someone would have been given this privilege, but he wasn’t or she wasn’t, it was me.”

Eager to show her appreciation for the chance to learn, Sandra became even more motivated to study hard and excel. And she did. “Child sponsorship inspired me to work harder,” she explains.

Not only did Sandra’s perseverance display her commitment to her personal studies, it would also position her as an excellent role model.

Robson teaches his class.

Leading by example

Today, Robson and Sandra encourage their own students to set, pursue and achieve new goals. With each lesson they teach, they communicate an uplifting message of hope and their passion for education is evident.

And yet, beyond merely teaching their students the importance of giving back and helping others as they strive for personal success, Robson and Sandra demonstrate it, every single day.

“I am trying to insist to them [students], to make sure, that they can be like me or go as far as what I have done in my life,” says Robson, with pride.

And now, Robson and Sandra can add one more attribute to their list of things in common: they both embody the power of investing in children, inspiring us – and future generations – to keep Planning to change the world.

Robson and Sandra dance with students.

Robson and Sandra dance with students during an outdoor assembly.

When Robson and Sandra were sponsored, it triggered a ripple effect of positive impact that continues to expand, even today. They are living proof of all that is possible when we give children the chance to reach their full potential.

When you sponsor a child you help break the cycle of poverty and begin a cycle of progress for a child, a community, and generations to come.

Become a child sponsor today