Edinburgh couple travel to Indonesia to meet their sponsored children

Edinburgh couple travel to Indonesia to meet their sponsored children

Edinburgh residents, John and Sheila Watson have just returned from Indonesia where they visited their sponsored children Andre and Leo. The Watsons support the boys through Christian child development charity, Compassion UK.

“We had planned a trip to Bangkok and Singapore, and realised that it wouldn’t be much further to travel to Indonesia to meet Andre and Leo and get some idea of what goes on at the project they are a part of,” explains John, a retired engineer.

John and Sheila attend Davidson’s Mains Parish Church in Edinburgh and they travelled to Indonesia earlier this month to witness first-hand the effect of their sponsorship. “All of the children in the project seemed so happy. We were expecting about 50 children: there were more than 150.  We hadn’t realised how comprehensive the support for the children was – skills, mentoring, medical and dental checks, meals and financial support.”

The Watson’s monthly sponsorship for each child enables Andre and Leo to be part of their local Compassion project where they receive nutritious meals, emotional support, medical attention and the chance to go to school.

10-year-old Leo and 12-year-old Andre live under the care of their respective parents in the coastal community of Pailus, near Jepara in North East Indonesia. Pailus is home to around 15,000 residents, typical houses are constructed of cement floors, wood walls and tile roofs. Half of the adults in Pailus are unemployed but some work as fishermen or day labourers and earn the equivalent of £7 per month.

“We were taken to the home of Andre, and met him and his parents. They were so warm and welcoming! We discovered he had been praying that his sponsor would visit him. They offered us traditional food and drink and gave us each a present. We were shown round the house, which was very basic. After chatting them, through the interpreter, we said goodbye and we were taken to the home of the Leo where we had a similar reception. One of the boys had bought a cupboard with some of the money we had sent. Without it, there would have been nowhere to store his things,” John and Sheila explain.

Ella Dickinson

Words by Ella Dickinson


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Compassion UK Christian Child Development, registered charity in England and Wales (1077216) and Scotland (SC045059). A company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales company number 03719092. Registered address: Compassion House, Barley Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UT.