As an employee on a luxurious cruise ship, Ellen Landes bears witness to a slew of fortune and material prosperity.
Yet, the lives of the children and families where the ship ports paint a stark contrast to what she sees on board. When she sees customers on the cruise-line splurge on their vacation expenses, she can’t help but think of the villages and communities at the end of the dock.
Through Plan International USA, a small sacrifice will help children in this country.
“There is so much poverty and need outside in the countries where we stop,” Ellen said.
She pointed out the fact that sponsoring a child for the duration of a month “costs less than one nice dinner out.”
Ellen lived and worked in Egypt for five years. During her time there, she grew to love the Egyptian people.
“Living in Egypt, I faced many hardships,” she said. “Egyptian people were always so helpful to me. Plan gave me the chance to do something good in return for this beautiful country.”
Because of her connection with the people there, she began sponsoring three children.
Child sponsorship at Plan is a partnership. Both sponsors and sponsored children are continually inspired and reaffirmed in their commitment to making the world a better place. And, as a result, child sponsorship is a hands-on experience.
“The best thing about Plan’s child sponsorship program is that it is interactive and I have the opportunity to communicate with my sponsored children, learn about life in their communities, and even visit them in person,” she said.
“I was blessed with an opportunity to visit the youngest of my sponsored girls, Malak, during my last vacation in Egypt. Her family, friends, and neighbors welcomed me very warmly. Malak is such a beautiful, kind, and talented child.”
Malak even wrote Ellen a small note.
“Isn’t it amazing that this little Malak got a chance to attend a good nursery and learn to read, write, and count at the age of 5?” she asked.
Ellen was impressed by Plan’s programs in action. Child sponsorship can help communities build from within and grow stronger.
“Plan not only provides financial support for community projects, but educates and empowers young people by motivating and encouraging them to pursue their dreams for a better life,” she said.
It was meeting Malak, her family, and other community members, though, that was most memorable.
“It was great to communicate with her family members, neighbors, and other kids from the same village and hear about all the positive changes in their community,” she said. “Malak was very shy and did not talk much, but I could see she was very happy to meet me, too.”