A MUM has returned from an emotional visit to East Africa where she met the young man she has sponsored for 11 years for the first time.
Stephanie Boyd from Hartlepool travelled 4,000 miles to Uganda where she saw first hand how her support had changed the life of Nelson who she has sponsored since he was 11-years-old.
For just 75p-a-day, Stephanie has helped Nelson, now 22, have an education, access clean water and healthcare and have a brighter future through the charity World Vision.
He has now started his own business.
The mum of four, from the Burn Valley area of town, took him presents from England including a football strip, some footballs and a copy of the Hartlepool Mail.
Stephanie, 51, said: “I’ve seen Nelson grow up in photographs and have always felt connected to him, so it was wonderful to meet him and his family finally.
“We had lunch together and I gave him some gifts that I’d brought over from England including a football strip, some footballs and a copy of the Hartlepool Mail, telling him all about our football team.
“Thanks to World Vision’s help Nelson is a healthy young adult, has been through school and has now started to run his own business.
“I feel determined to keep sponsoring through World Vision, especially now I’ve seen how my small contribution really can make a difference in a child’s life.”
Stephanie is encouraging more people to sign up to the World Vision child sponsorship programme which allows people in south-west Uganda to develop a sustainable and better future.
As well as meeting Nelson, Stephanie, a social worker with Hartlepool Borough Council, saw how the long-term project helps people access clean water.
In many rural areas of the country more than a third of people are unable to get safe drinking water.
She also visited a local high school that was built with the charity’s support.
Sharon McLeod, sponsorship ambassador manager at World Vision UK, said: “We want to reach eight million children within the next few years, and wouldn’t be able to do this without the help of our dedicated Sponsors like Mrs Boyd.
“We’re pleased Mrs Boyd enjoyed her trip to meet Nelson and could really see the difference her continuing support is making to him, his family and his wider community.
“We always hope World Vision’s Child Sponsorship programme can offer a special, two-way experience like this.”
If you would like to sponsor a child call 0800 0121202 or visit www.worldvision.org.uk