It Takes a Village: How one child sponsor rallied friends to support a 5-year-old girl
When Dana Felix saw World Vision’s #GirlsCan campaign in 2020, she was immediately compelled to join. Dana is familiar with World Vision; her school previously hosted and event to raise funds for a 12-Hour Famine campaign back in November 2010.
Dana and a friend helped with the program, which allowed her to speak to a lot of different people about children’s needs. But empowering girls had a special space in Dana’s heart. “We always say, ‘Boys will be boys’ but how come we never let girls be girls?” Dana asks. “Even at a young age, there are so many expectations on what a girl should be. I don’t want that to stop girls from pursuing their own dreams.”
Meeting the Challenge
Dana works in a Christian mission non-profit, so sponsoring a child is financially challenging. Instead of letting that stop her, Dana decided to take to social media and appeal to friends, pooling funds to sponsor a child. She committed to covering half of the sponsorship pledge, and was looking for others to cover the other half. Amazingly, nine people came forward to pitch in and covered 100% of the annual sponsorship cost. Today, Dana and her friends are the happy sponsors of five-year-old Princess.
“She is so cute!” Dana shares about Princess. “She was so shy in the video so her mom told me all about Princess – that she likes the color pink, which is my favorite color, too! She loves to play bahay-bahayan (play house) and wants to be a doctor someday.”
What made the sponsorship journey so memorable for Dana was how she and her friends continue to share updates and talk about their decision to be sponsors. “It’s super satisfying that we have something concrete to care about,” says Dana. “They would say to me, ‘Thanks for making me a part of this,’ and I would say, ‘No, thank you! You did this. You made it happen.’”
Because child sponsorship is a long-term commitment, Dana admits that it can seem daunting. “I had so many excuses before,” she confesses. “But if there’s anything I’ve learned in this pandemic, it’s that when people come together, it’s so much easier to get things done. I had all these excuses but eventually, it struck me, ‘Why did I let that hold me back?’ I know that this time is challenging but you can come together as a group to support a child.”
Changed by sponsorship
Being a sponsor shaped how Dana sees other little girls in her life. “Sponsoring Princess made me more mindful of how I influence the young girls around me,” she explains. “I have a seven-year-old cousin and a few inaanak (godchildren) who are young girls. What do they see in how I speak or live? It really made me think about how I impact the little girls in my circle.”
Dana prays that Princess gets to enjoy being a child and not have to worry about being taken out of school. She hopes that Princess gets to enjoy childhood, and not have her playtime limited because she has to work to help her mom. Dana’s prayer is simple but meaningful. She says, “Lord, when you say we are your children, I pray that Princess will feel this. That she will feel safe, loved, and not worry because she knows that someone is protecting her always.”
While Dana hasn’t met Princess yet, she hopes to one day. “I imagine that we’ll both be wearing pink,” she says with a smile. “I think it will feel like I’ve already known her. She won’t be a stranger.”
“I can’t see Princess’ future but it’s so special to be able to be a part of it,” Dana says. “Princess is not just a statistic but a child. Her family and her community – they all matter. Everything we do has an effect on someone else, so try to make it good.”