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Visiting sponsored child Burkina Faso

Essex resident speaks of sponsored child’s joy after receiving new hearing aids

Anthony Beckett from Stansted has just returned from Burkina Faso where he was reunited with Kalhed, the boy he has been sponsoring with his wife Marion for over seven years through child development charity Compassion UK.

“This was my sixth visit to the Compassion project in Burkina Faso. It was great to meet Kalhed and his family again. He has grown so much this year,” 59-year-old banker Anthony said.

Thirteen-year-old Kalhed contracted Meningitis a few years ago, but thanks to Compassion’s staff, he got the medical care and treatment he needed.

“Had it not been for the support and care of Compassion I don’t think he would be here today” said Anthony.

Despite making a full recovery from the disease, Kalhed was unfortunately left with severe hearing problems. However, he was recently fitted with hearing aids, and Anthony describes their effect as “incredible”:

“He no longer holds back in class and has the confidence to join in with the other children and as a result has really grown in his studies. Kalhed’s mum was so full of joy and gratitude for all the support. She explained that since Kalhed got his hearing aids he has not stopped smiling,” he reflected.

Kalhed lives in Bobo-Diolasso, home to approximately 15,000 residents. Typically houses there have dirt or cement floors, mud or brick walls and tin roofs. Most adults in the area are unemployed but some work as day labourers, subsistence farmers or market traders, and earn the equivalent of £12 per month.

In Burkina Faso poor health is a challenge across the board. Approximately 36 percent of children suffer from growth stunting, an often irreversible condition caused by chronic malnutrition during early childhood.

Incidents of malaria, respiratory infection and diarrhoea are also high, and in recent years, the country has faced outbreaks of meningitis, yellow fever and cholera.

Education is another concern. Even though it is free from the ages of six to 16, resources are limited. Many parents struggle to pay for basic school supplies and classes are often extremely overcrowded. The country has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world with only one-third of Burkinabé able to read and write to a functional standard.

The Beckett’s sponsorship of £25 a month enables Kalhed to be part of his local Compassion project where he receives nutritious meals, emotional support, medical attention and the chance to get a good quality education.

“For anyone who is considering child sponsorship, don’t underestimate just how much you can change a child’s life. I have seen the results first hand,” Anthony concludes.

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