Leeds residents travel to Ethiopia to visit sponsored child

Leeds residents travel to Ethiopia to visit sponsored child

Leeds residents Brenda and David Rathmell and their 14-year-old grandson, Sammy, have just returned from the Ethiopia where they met Kibru the child they have been sponsoring for 9 years through child development charity, Compassion UK.

“We wanted to meet Kibru and his family so we could gain a better understanding into their lives. We were amazed at how they manage in the poverty of subsistence living and were impressed by their strength and dignity,” reflects 69-year-old Brenda.

Sponsorship visit

“It was lovely to finally give Kibru and his parents a hug and pray with them. Sammy found it overwhelming and emotional too, he bought gifts for him out of his own money, including sports tops and trainers,” shares Brenda, a retired nurse.

Kibru lives in the community of Nefas Silk-Lafto in Addis Ababa. Typically houses are constructed of dirt floors, mud walls and tin roofs. Most adults work as day labourers and earn the equivalent of £13 per month.

Ethiopia is the second most populated country in Africa and one of the poorest in the world. Almost 45 percent of children suffer from growth stunting, an often irreversible condition caused by chronic malnutrition during early childhood. A high percent of children do not attend school, often due to the cost of fees and lack of school materials. Less than half of Ethiopia’s population are able to read and write, one of the lowest literacy rates in the world.

“We were impressed at the scale of the work that Compassion do in Ethiopia. They have 97 workers, supporting 200 projects with about 250 children in each, it is mind blowing! Our sponsorship also meant Kibru’s family were more able to provide for his younger sister Helen, ensuring they both can have an education.

Without our sponsorship Kibru would not be able to have any dreams, never mind achieve them. Our hope would be that he will be able to continue in school long enough to fulfil his potential. His best subject at school is science and he has already won an award for an experiment,” shares Brenda.

The Rathmell’s sponsorship enables Kibru 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.

Now back in the UK, the Rathmell family is keen to encourage others to sponsor a child: “Compassion makes a real difference to both the child’s life and their family’s life, it’s very rewarding to be able to help in such a way.”

Becca Stanley

Words by Becca Stanley


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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.