As a sponsor, everyone can change the world
Johanna Tampio has been a Fida sponsor for more than ten years. She wants to be involved in building a better future for children.
There was a picture of a child on the refrigerator door in Johanna’s childhood home. It was a picture of her mom’s sponsorship child. Mother sometimes asked her for help to write a letter or card in English for the child. Johanna’s parents were also foster parents for displaced children.
– From there I got the idea that I could give some time to a child since I don’t have children of my own. In 2009, I started as a support person for a child with an Indian background. I currently have two support family children, whom I meet once a month for one weekend, Johanna says.
The following year, she also became a Fida sponsor. Johanna’s refrigerator door now features a picture of her sponsorship child, 9-year-old Indian Deepak.
Touched by fates of the children of the Indian slums
Johanna, in her forties, has long worked as a nurse specializing in children. The last couple of years have been spent working in the emergency department of Helsinki’s new children’s hospital.
Children have always been close to my heart. I work with children, which probably also stems from the desire to help them and be involved in missionary work, Johanna reflects.
In 2009, Johanna went to Jordan for half a year as a development trainee through Fida. She was involved in health care development at the Iraqi Refugee Action Center. In addition, she served as a counsellor and first aid officer at a children’s camp.
Through practice, Fida’s work became more familiar to Johanna and she was encouraged to become a sponsor. The woman knew right away that she would like a sponsorship child through Fida.
– I felt close to Fida, because it was an organization I already knew as a member of the Pentecostal Church. I knew Fida was doing a really good job in different countries together with the local people. I didn’t really even think about other options, Johanna says.
It seemed natural for her to become the sponsor of an Indian child, as she already acted as a support person for a child with an Indian background in Finland. Fida’s sponsored children at the time were children of poor families living in rural villages in Maharashtra.
What touched me was that these children lived in slum areas. I thought their quality of life needed to be improved. I wanted to support them.
Involved in missionary work as a sponsor
Johanna is glad that the sponsorship has enabled her to participate in missionary work from Finland.
– When I was young, I thought that mission work is about personally going, and it has been my desire to go somewhere to help people. But life has then taken a different path. As a sponsor, I can be a part of a global mission. I can make my own small contribution to help my sponsorship child and his entire community live a better life.
According to Johanna, the sponsorship is an easy way to help: A certain amount goes out of her account once a month and every now and then she receives a letter from India telling her about the child’s news.
– Donating is easy when it is regular. You don’t always have to think about it. In addition, at least once a year, there will be a letter from the sponsorship programme. I’m delighted to hear how it goes there. It’s great that even a little help makes a big difference in the lives of my sponsored child and his family, the sponsor rejoices.
For Johanna, sponsoring has been rewarding. Indeed, she encourages those who think about the sponsorship to take action. She points out that Jesus promised a future and hope to all people. As sponsors, everyone can be involved in giving hope to children who may not otherwise have it.
– The Bible says, “He gives the future and hope.” As a sponsor, I can be part of the puzzle of creating a better future for children. I think Fida does exactly what Jesus wants: to give hope to everyone’s life, regardless of their circumstances.
Fida’s Indian sponsorship program improves access to school for children living in the Udaipur region and provides home visits by a nurse. Families are taught good hygiene, starting from hand washing, and children’s mothers are offered literacy classes. Communities are also educated about the dangers of child marriage and children’s rights.