Lance was so frail. His voice was weak, his limbs were skinny and he had been in bed for many months. Lance was eight years old, but he was the size of a four year old. He could barely stand up, let alone run around and play like other children.
Lance is from a family of seven. His father, a fisherman, paddles to sea in a tiny canoe very early every morning to fish for 10 hours, but he must fish close to the shore since his boat is not motorised. “It’s too risky for him to go further out,” Lance’s mum, Joan, says. “He doesn’t catch many big fish but I do my best to sell them in the afternoon so we have money to buy food and send our older children to school.”
The most money Lance’s hard-working parents can make is 300 Philippine Pesos per day (£4.50), but sometimes they earn nothing. “On such days, we just eat the fish before it goes rotten as we don’t have electricity or a cooler to store it,” says Joan.
When families are caught in crippling poverty like this, growing children miss out on important nutrients, leading to malnutrition and stunted growth. For years, Lance was too weak to lift himself up and walk, while his younger brother Angelo had difficulty breathing and couldn’t play as much as he wanted due to his severe anaemia.
Healing through sponsorship
For Angelo, all this changed when he was registered at his local Compassion project and received medical checkups. With a proper diagnosis, the right medicine, good food and attentive care, Angelo grew healthier, gaining weight and enough energy to play with his friends.
Seeing the change in Angelo, Joan set about praying that her older son would also find a sponsor and in May 2016, this prayer became a reality. Once registered at the project, the project staff helped Lance to get immediate medical attention where he was diagnosed with acute malnutrition. After a consultation with specialists, Lance was given a meal and vitamin schedule and the project staff went to extraordinary lengths to ensure the young boy remained on his meal schedule:
“We cooked his meals as the doctor ordered,” explains Dhalia Agosto, the project director. “The meals were complete with meat, vegetables and fruit, and even sweets and milk, and we gave him his medicines and vitamins after every meal.”
Their diligence paid off.
Although he is still tiny for his age, Lance is plump, runs around and smiles a lot. He is finally strong enough to play with other children.
Both Lance (left) and Angelo are now healthy and performing well at school. Lance has a lot to make up for in his education. Although he has only been enrolled in primary school at the age of eight, he is simply happy that he can now go to school. He says, “When I grow up, I want to be a doctor so I can help my family.”
Stories like this are the reason we do what we do here at Compassion. It takes just one sponsor to change the world for one child – just one sponsor to provide life-saving medical checks, life-giving meals and life-enhancing education for children like Lance and Angelo.
Will you join us this Compassion Sunday and sponsor a child, or tell your friends and family about the difference a sponsor can make?
Change the world this Compassion Sunday