Broadening horizons

In 1998, Diana and her three older sisters were chosen to be part of World Vision’s child sponsorship program in the Philippines. What followed was a transformation that shaped not only their individual growth but also the whole family’s relationship with each other and with God.

“My parents used to argue a lot because we were financially struggling. They had to provide for my three sisters and I,” recounts Diana. “I was the youngest child so I didn’t understand much back then, but I remember my sisters missing school trips and worrying about school projects. I remember wondering, ‘when I reach that age, would I also miss out on such things?’”

Diana and her family used to live in Alabat Island, Quezon Province, about 190 kilometers south of Manila. While the major sources of income in the island are fishing and farming, Diana’s father worked as a security guard in Manila to make ends meet. Her mother directly sold cosmetics from one house to another.

“We used to spend afternoons at our relatives’ place. They fed us when there was no food at home,” Diana shares. “I studied hard because I wanted to graduate. I wanted to support my family’s needs.”

Diana’s daily routine, her personal goals, and the dynamics within her family gradually saw transformation after she and her sisters got enrolled under World Vision’s child sponsorship program in 1998. She was in second grade.

“All of a sudden, my world became bigger. I had to allot time for both school and for World Vision activities. We had leadership trainings, we had community-based activities,” Diana recalls.

Diana and her sisters also received school supplies at the beginning of every school year. Because of the educational support, her parents began to argue less. In addition to this, Diana appreciates how her whole family learned to build a closer relationship with God.

“World Vision is not only community-based. We also had activities where we got to learn about the Bible,” Diana recalls. “Our family regularly attended church but it was only after World Vision that my sisters and I really studied the Bible together.”

A welcome change

Once a reserved girl dedicated solely to excelling in school, Diana began to realize that she could aim for more. “The community activities opened my eyes to my potential,” Diana says with a smile. “I recognized that I could also do the things other child leaders could do. I pushed myself to be like them, especially when I got the chance to join leadership activities with sponsored children from other provinces.”

The leadership training she received from World Vision also helped Diana to secure a scholarship in a Philippine state university and paved the way for her to finish college and land a supervisory position in one of the top technology companies in the world. “The skills I got from my experience in those activities remain useful to this day,” Diana attests.

One other memorable experience in her sponsorship journey is receiving handwritten letters from her World Vision sponsor. “My sponsor was from Australia. Instead of signing her letters with her name, she’d put in the name of her four children,” she shares.

Her sponsor always told Diana how blessed they were to have an avenue to help children like her. Diana fondly chuckles at the memory. “It was I who was really blessed to have them as my sponsors. It was then that I started to dream of becoming a sponsor myself. I told myself that someday, it would be me who would write these kinds of letters to my sponsored child.”

“For me, having the ability to help others is the greatest achievement anyone can ever have,” Diana says, admitting that she actively encourages her friends to sponsor young girls through World Vision. “Even if you don’t have much in life, you’ll have so much fulfillment when you help others even in the littlest way.”

You too can join Diana and other empowered women and be part of the movement in empowering 1,000 girls by October 11, International Day of the Girl.

Sponsorship can help a girl break free from the cycle of poverty. Empower vulnerable girls to rewrite their stories by providing them the right tools to overcome adversity.

Sponsor a girl now