When Grace Kono-Wells and her husband Vernon visited their sponsored child Ruma last year, life in Nepal turned out to be a little different than they expected.
“I learned that you may think your child is ‘poor,’ but in reality they have more than we do,” said Grace. “Not having a condo, a gas-burning stove, a porcelain toilet, air conditioning, or central air, etc. isn’t the key to happiness. Nepalese people are generous, kind, and happy—giving them the opportunity to access education, clean water, and a healthy environment will enhance their lives but it’s not because they are coming from a place of being ‘poor.’ Contributing as we do to Ruma’s life and education will generate a world of possibilities for her as she becomes an adult—and that, to me, is a priceless gift.”
Grace began helping to provide those priceless gifts decades ago. Since 1984, she’s sponsored five children. The last few were with Vernon.
“I felt compelled to get involved in some way, and I thought it was wonderful that I could correspond with my child and get reports on how he or she was doing on a regular basis,” she said.
The Wells have sponsored children all over the world, including Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
A trip to Nepal last year, however, presented a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
“An opportunity came up when we joined a team with another organization to build a school in Nepal and live with the community,” she said. “Since we were already going to be there, this was the perfect opportunity to meet Ruma and her family.”
Ruma’s community in Nepal didn’t pull any punches when it came to greeting their guests. Dancing and music welcomed the Wells family.
“Everyone was dressed in their best festival wear,” said Grace. “Later, after all the gift exchanges from the community, Ruma and her classmates danced for us, and Ruma recited a beautiful, touching letter to us that was translated by a Plan International interpreter. And then after all of that, there were the numerous and delicious bowls of food created by Ruma’s mom and a neighbor. They had stayed up all night and part of the morning to create all the food!
“And in the end, we ceremoniously rode in the back of an ox cart to our car. It was pretty hilarious to the entire community as we clumsily tried to get in—and out—of the cart!”
Despite her ungraceful exit, Grace wouldn’t change a thing. She’d recommend a visit to any other child sponsor.
“It’s such a different experience meeting a child you’ve been supporting and corresponding with on paper,” she said. “When you’re able to meet your child face-to-face, meet their family and friends, and be totally immersed in their culture—a whole new world opens up for you, and you suddenly realize just how connected we really are.”
Sponsoring a child through Plan International USA creates a ripple effect that lasts for years. Learn how you can create an impact in a child's life who desperately needs to know their life is valued. Meet a child to help today!
When you sponsor a child through Plan, you can exchange letters to learn about their life, forming an incredible friendship. But that’s just the beginning. With Plan, you also have the unique opportunity to send your sponsored child birthday cards, Little Treasures holiday presents, and our educational kids' magazine, Sunny Days.