As a Plan International USA child sponsor since 1995, Sabine has spent more than two decades helping children through an organization in which she believes. Over the years, she’s received many letters from sponsored children, often telling her about their lives, and she was always happy to respond in kind.
She always wanted to visit one of her sponsored children in person – and it took an extra nudge from her sponsored child to arrange a trip to the Dominican Republic.
“With my sponsored child Keysi, I finally turned this dream into reality, because the Dominican Republic was [relatively close to] the U.S., and, more importantly, Keysi reached out to me and kept asking in all her letters when I would finally come and visit,” said Sabine.
Sabine and her husband were taken to Keysi’s school. The encounter was emotional.
“She was shy and happy at the same time, and came to the front of the classroom where we hugged and almost had tears in our eyes,” she said.
Keysi’s mother was ecstatic to see Sabine – as was her father.
Visiting the family home was a highlight of the trip.
“It was a brick built home,” Sabine said. “Mom and dad had built it with their own hands, nicely finished on the inside. Keysi is the only daughter and the other four children are all sons. Keysi even had her own room. It seemed the family had a very loving relationship with each other.”
Before their visit to Keysi’s home, Sabine and her husband had the opportunity to visit Plan’s Country Office in San Juan and learn about the breadth of Plan’s program work.
“The regional projects were explained to us, with an emphasis on children's rights, early childhood education, and a lot more,” she said. “Everybody – and especially our guides, translator Krisha and field worker Edgar – was extremely friendly. We were grateful that they had reserved the entire day for our visit.
“I came away feeling reassured that my sponsored child was doing well, growing up in a safe environment, a good family, and receiving a decent education. She had a long way walking to school, but very manageable.”
Above all else, she was able to really get to know her sponsored child.
“She was talking about movies and series she liked to watch on TV,” she said. “I didn't see much different from [what you see with] youth over here. One day, she would love to come to visit Disneyland. I sure hope that somehow we can achieve this dream for her. “I would definitely recommend a trip like this to any child sponsor,” Sabine added. “It makes the contributions to Plan more ‘real,’ and you can see first-hand that communities where Plan works seem to do very well. Plus, of course – and more importantly – you create a real bond with your sponsored child and the entire family… And that's a beautiful thing.”