Taking action and making a difference

Ann and her granddaughter Aisling writing to Prisela

Ann and her granddaughter Aisling writing to Prisela

Sponsoring a child from Kenya has changed Ann Enright’s life for the better

As one generation passes the torch onto the next, changes are happening all around without us even realising. Noticing that the emphasis on looks and appearance was at an all-time high, Ann Enright from Crosshaven in Co Cork was determined to show her granddaughter Aisling that image isn’t everything. After seeing an ad to sponsor a child through ActionAid, she decided it was something Aisling and she could do together. Ann also thought it would be a good opportunity for Aisling to see what life is like for other girls her age in poor countries.

“At the time she around seven or eight. She was very much into the consumer world of shopping and all of that so I decided I would try to show her how other people live. That’s why I made the decision to sign up for the monthly contribution to ActionAid,” says Ann.

For more than 30 years ActionAid has helped over 15 million people in 45 countries worldwide, in places such as Kenya, Nepal and Vietnam. Instead of trying to impose solutions to poverty, the organisation looks at ways in which it can work with the
people so that they can create a better life for themselves, in some of the poorest regions in the world.

The huge strain on finances and resources these people face means that making real progress can be hindered. One of the ways in which ActionAid is helping to combat this is through their Child Sponsor programmes and donations can be made on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. is assured financial support in turn, allows these people to make a better life for themselves and enables them to make the badly needed developments within their community.

Prisela Muli, Ann's sponsor child in Kenya

Prisela Muli, Ann's sponsor child in Kenya

“We were paired with a little girl from Marafa in Kenya, called Prisela,” says Ann, who donates €23 a month. “Twice a year we get updates, letters and pictures, from the charity about Prisela and what has been happening. The initial letter was written by the little girl and since then it’s written by the organisation.

“They’ve been meticulous about sending me on the updates. I found ActionAid very good and they’ve kept up the contact. At Christmas then Prisela sends a little card for my granddaughter and Aisling sends her one back. It’s brilliant to have that amount of information and contact all these years later.”

Ann says these updates make her
feel secure in the knowledge that her donations are going to the right place and it’s encouraging to know that she is largely responsible for the positive changes Prisela is experiencing.

“We are told that she is going to school and that the donations have made a difference to her life,” says Ann. “The donations help to pay for her school books and things like that and as far as I know the money also goes out to the wider community. Some of it is spent on local food projects so Prisela is not the only one who is benefiting from it. It helps her family and the people around her as well. We were told in one update that seeds were bought with the money.”

The updates allow Ann to see the impact her donations are making and she really herself benefits from knowing her money is making a difference. “I would have been aware of third world countries and I used to think about what I could do to help people. When I see anything about poverty now at least I feel I’m doing something, even if it’s just a tiny bit. There’s one child that I can focus on.”

Ann feels that with children being exposed to so many outside influences, it can be hard to instill certain values nowadays. “It’s getting increasingly difficult. I think social media has really taken over their lives. I have five grandchildren and the older ones say to me, ‘Granny, you’re just too old,’ but it’s everywhere. It’s in their face all the time so it’s difficult to get away from it. When it’s in their face it’s hard to combat it.”

On sponsoring a child with her grandmother Ann, Aisling says: “I find it very interesting learning what life is like for a girl my age in Kenya. I have received letters from Prisela over the past four years and I have sent her four replies. In her letters, she describes her family and her
life in Kenya. I would love to
 visit Kenya to meet Prisela 
some day.”

For more information about ActionAid visit www.actionaid.ie

Michelle Newman