Gef ran a competition back in March to Celebrate International Women’s day.
Some lovely, inspiring books were awarded to two well-deserved winners. Local girl Caitlyn and Siyama, who lives in Uganda and is sponsored by local lass Shannon Greenwood.
Yesterday we received the wonderful news that Siyama’s books had made it all of the way to Uganda. We have to admit, it brought a tear to our eye.
It also gave us the opportunity to catch up with her Manx sponsor Shannon Greenwood who told us more about her sponsorship story;
So, in 2012 I decided that I didn’t want any Christmas presents and instead I wanted to give something back. I’d seen adverts online about sponsoring children less fortunate than us and decided that it would be amazing to do it! I asked everyone for money for Christmas so I could sponsor someone for at least 6 months. Sure enough, Christmas came round and my family were very generous. I found a lovely charity called Abaana and started reading all about them. I love how the 95% of the £1 I gave would go directly to the child I sponsored. It was £12 a month and definitely worth it. I found Siyama on the site (she was 3 at the time).
Her cheeky smile won me over and I requested to be her sponsor. It was accepted and I received my first letter from her which was just squiggles and her name. It made me feel like I was important to someone. The months went on, and eventually, the money ran out but by then I was old enough to get a little part-time job. So, I started waitressing in order to have enough money to continue the sponsorship. It has always been my goal to put her through education, I’m already saving for her university fees! As the years have gone by, I’ve seen her grow up into a beautiful little girl with huge ambitions and bundles of energy & determination. The letters I receive now are phenomenal compared to the ones at the start and I am so proud of her. My aim is to travel to Uganda next year to meet her and carry out some aid work whilst I’m there. When you’re having a bad day, all you need to do is look at her smile and everything is made better.
Siyama was put forward for sponsorship because she lives in an area where she is vulnerable due to coming from a poor family. She lives with her mother, brother, sister, and stepfather and if she had no education, would be forced to work on the streets in order to bring money home for her family. The very first thing I read about her was that her favourite thing to do was helping her mum carry water. It broke my heart. With the sponsorship, I pay for her full-time education, a hot meal each day and regular health check-ups. I also send parcels every now and then with books, clothes, toys and everything a 9-year-old girl could possibly want!
Hat’s off Shannon, a lovely and inspiring story.