Thanks to Jane Chen, who made this interview possible! Check out her Beauty/ Fair Trade Blog.
Rebekka Lien, a creative entrepreneur, writer, activist,artist and dear friend has had the privilege of sponsoring an Ecuadorian child through Compassion International for the past 3 years. Her current accessories shop donates a portion of the proceeds to support her child. Recently, an opportunity arose for her to be able to visit him!
I caught up with her recently to learn more about this exciting adventure!
1. How did you first hear about the organization that sponsors the child and what made you pick this org over others?
I heard about Compassion International at a conference. The speaker was talking about giving and helping the poor. For some reason, I was really moved to support a child. I have been supporting non-profit organizations for awhile and thought sponsoring and becoming pen pals with a kid would be amazing!
2. Tell us more about your child: (name ,age, hobbies, his dreams,info on family etc.)
Marco Michael will be 11 in December 10, 2012. He is in second grade and likes group games, soccer and cars. His household chores consist of running errands, caring for animals, and cleaning. He lives with both parents and his dad is a farmer.
3. What is life like for a typical Ecuadorian family? What are people’s occupation, education level, access to resources etc?
My sponsored kid lives in the plains of Tena, home to approximately 33,000 residents. Houses are constructed of cement and brick walls. The most commonly spoken language is Spanish.
The regional diet consists of maize, beans, beef and plantains. Common health problems are flu, dermatitis, intestinal illnesses, parasites, snake bites, broken bones, malaria and tuberculosis.
“Your sponsored child lives on the plains of Tena, home to approximately 33,000 residents. Typical houses are constructed of cement and have brick walls. The most commonly spoken language is Spanish. Most adults in Tena are unemployed but some work as day laborers, animal herders or on plantations and earn the equivalent of $150 per month. This community needs schools, employment opportunities and recreational facilities.
My sponsorship allows the staff of Caminitos de Luz Student Center to education, provide nutrition and hygiene education, special celebrations, academic support and sports activities. The center staff also provides health and nutrition education and parents’ school for the parents or guardians of your sponsored child.”
4. When you meet him, what message do you want to convey to him?
I want to convey to him that he is important, special and unique. I want him to know that he is not just any kid in this universe, but that he was created for a purpose. I want him to have the opportunity to pursue his dreams and passions and not to allow his current circumstance to become a hindrance. In fact, I desire for him to use his hardships, suffering, joy, life experience as his greatest strength to relating to others and having compassion for those that he may have a heart to help in the future.
Personally, my life’s biggest suffering and trials have become my life’s victory and source of hope and inspiration for others. I went through the hardships of immigrating to two different countries, parent’s divorce, constant moving and change, poverty, and alienation in new environments. Those experiences have helped me to be who I am today and continues to inspire other people to overcome their own obstacles.
5. What have you learned from this experience? How has this changed your global perspective?
I learned that world issues are not far off. They relate to us in every way, our world is interconnected and we need to be aware and compassionate for people here and across the seas. We can’t wait for other people to do something, we are ourselves capable agents of change. I have decided to experience first hand the lifestyle and living conditions of a boy I’m sponsoring so I can understand.
If you would like the opportunity to partner with Rebekka in funding her trip to see Marco, please visit: http://igg.me/p/78412
To learn more about Rebekka’s outreach adventures, visit her blog: http://rebekkalien.com