26-year-old Shelley Moore recently returned from Togo and Ghana, where she met two girls supported by child development charity Compassion UK.
Shelley, who works with people with learning difficulties in the Bournemouth area, sponsors eight children with Compassion UK and writes to a total of 56 children at the charity’s projects worldwide.
In Togo, Shelley met nine-year-old Blessing, who she has been corresponding with since she was three.
“All of the children were sitting on benches outside, and when we were introduced she put her arms round me and she didn’t want to let go” Shelley says of their meeting. “You see them grow up through photos, but having this child in front of you and to hear their voice, it’s the most powerful thing. There are not enough words to express how magical that is and what an absolute privilege that is.”
Shelley then crossed the border into Ghana and met her 18-year-old pen pal Vanessa, whose mother passed away from cancer last year.
“I asked Vanessa what her plans were for the future” says Shelley “and she said she wanted to become a nurse so that she could help people who are sick, like her mother had been. To be able to look that horrific situation in the face and to make the best of it, that’s amazing.”
Shelley with Vanessa in Ghana
Sponsoring with Compassion
Shelley’s commitment of £25 a month for each of her eight sponsored children is giving them the chance of a better future.
Her support enables them to be part of their local church-based Compassion project, where they receive not only an education, but also nutritious meals, emotional support and medical attention.
Shelley says that she decided to sponsor her first child with Compassion when she was 18.
“I’d never even had a direct debit before” she says, laughing. “But Compassion’s help means that they are more likely to stay in school, to have increased self-confidence. Children know that they are loved and that someone really cares for them. And to see that right before your eyes, you can see children are really changed by it.”