Finally, Shanie was done for the day. Exhaustion and hunger clawed at the young girl’s mind and body; unfortunately, this was normal. Shanie should have been in school, learning with her peers. Yet here she was, going to bed hungry and tired from a day of working an adult’s job.
A Childhood of Hardship
Shanie grew up in extreme poverty. Her parents were both daily laborers who wove bamboo baskets on the side to ensure the family’s survival. Money was difficult to come by, Shanie’s older sister had to drop out of school since their parents were unable to continue paying for enrollment, and they considered taking Shanie out of school as well. It went against what her parents wanted for them: Shanie’s parents wanted their children to have a better life, but the fees were draining them of much-needed income.
Sometimes, Shanie would help her parents weave baskets, skipping school to help earn a little extra money. Would this be her future, working constantly, like her parents, and still going to bed hungry? Shanie wanted to complete her education, but no one from her village had ever gone on to higher education. In fact, virtually no other children in Shanie’s village were even enrolled in school—and it seemed it would stay that way.
Opportunity Comes Knocking
Things would not, however, remain the same. When Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers began enrolling local children in GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program, Shanie joined many of her peers in their shared journey toward a better tomorrow.
At first, the young girl did not know what to expect, and the new environment and teachers scared her. But it only took a few days for Shanie to get over her fear. The following days in the program were filled with joy for Shanie. Program staff ensured whatever she needed was provided—nutritious food, tutoring for lessons, school supplies and even health care. Every child enrolled in the program received the same love and care that Shanie did, and the workers ensured that children who most needed the help were enrolled.
Despite the odds against her, and thanks to the program’s support, Shanie finished her education. She was the first individual from her village to fully complete her primary education—but she didn’t stop there. This young woman went on to university and completed her training to become a full-fledged nurse.
“What I am today is only because of [the sponsorship program],” Shanie declared. “I am proud and thankful to all the teachers in the [program].”