WHEN YOU sponsor a disadvantaged child you can usually expect to receive photo updates or the odd letter, letting you know how your money is changing their life.
But a pair of Solihull sisters went the extra mile – travelling more than 6,000 miles to Bolivia in South America to visit the young girl they sponsored for over 14 years.
Katie and Anna Savage have just returned from the South American country where they met Doris – the young girl from the mountainous community of Mariscal Sucre, five miles north of the country’s second-biggest city.
Most adults in the village work as labourers, earning roughly £40 a month, but thanks to the continued support of Katie and Anna, Doris, who’s now 20 years old, is studying at university.
Primary Education student, Katie, aged 20 and her older sister Anna, a 22-year-old medical student at Imperial, initially traveled to Bolivia to volunteer, before deciding to spend the final few day of their trip meeting Doris.
“Our mum remembers when we were 9 and 10 years old, asking if we could go and visit Doris,” the sisters said.
“We wanted to be her friend.
“So when we decided to volunteer in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Mum and Dad were very excited and suggested we take this opportunity to visit Doris.”
Over the 14 years the Savage family sponsored Doris, their £25 a month donations enabled her to be part of her local Compassion project where she receives nutritious meals, emotional support, medical attention and the chance to go to school.
The sisters met Doris in a classroom, where she was waiting for them.
They added: “We rushed to hug her; it felt like she was and had always been part of the family.
“She was so happy to see us. She showed us around the project and told us about her Agronomy degree which she’s studying for at university.
“We found ourselves overwhelmed by the thanks that we received from Doris’ family, but we didn’t deserve this praise.
“We didn’t go completely out of our way or break the bank to sponsor Doris.
“We wondered what it would be like if the roles were reversed. What if we were the one needing a sponsor from the other side of the world in order to have an education and a decent quality of life?”
Doris will graduate from the Compassion Child Sponsorship Programme next year.
Katie, Anna and their brother Joe also sponsor 17-year-old Megnath from through Compassion UK.