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Stories: Children, Community, Future

I had a soul mate

Phuong is a young girl who lives in a poor, remote mountainous area in Bac Kan Province with her family.

In 2005, Phuong was sponsored by Nicky, an Australian freelance photographer. Nicky has travelled to many places around the world, taking photos, and she often shared these with Phuong. They exchanged letters regularly, telling each other about their daily lives, including work and study, love, hopes and hobbies.

For Phuong, receiving a letter from Nicky was always a wonderful experience. She says: “Nicky sent me many beautiful photos that she had taken. She is an amazing photographer! Through her eyes, I could see so many beautiful scenes that I never imagined before, and I could learn more about the world.”

In turn, Phuong wrote to Nicky about her study results and plans. Phuong says: “Nicky understood me well. She encouraged me when I got bad study results and congratulated me when I got good ones. She advised me to keep going on with my dream”.

Knowing that Phuong likes drawing, Nicky would send her picture books and pens to practice. “Nicky treated me just like a second mother,” explains Phuong.

In 2007, Nicky came to Vietnam to meet Phuong in person, enjoying the chance to see each other face-to-face. Nicky visited Phuong’s school and met her parents, teachers and friends. They played games, sang songs, took photos and talked: “It was so emotional when I saw Nicky. I had a chance to touch her hands, hug her and say how thankful I am to her,” shares Phuong.

Nine years has now passed since that visit.

Last year, Phuong turned 18 years-old and she left the child sponsorship scheme. “Not receiving Nicky’s letters, made me feel very sad,” says Phuong, however she understands that she has now grown up and Nicky’s support should be given to other vulnerable children, like she had been as a young girl. And she has many good memories: “Nicky is one of the most important parts in my life.”

Nicky’s support has been life-changing for Phuong. She is now a second year student at the Bac Kan Provincial College of Teaching. Her dream is to teach Arts at a primary school after her graduation.

Phuong says: “Thanks to Nicky, I have learnt about love and sharing. She helped me to overcome my difficulties and encouraged me to move on all the time. For her, I will give my best efforts to make my dreams come true. She really was a soul mate.”

Child sponsorship not only enables ChildFund to implement a range of projects which improve the lives of children in Vietnam, but it is also a powerful connection tool. Our child sponsors build a personal and long-term connection with a child in a developing country, knowing that their support helps break the cycle of poverty, not only for their sponsored child, but their family and community.

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