The first time I met my baby sister Nwando, on a visit to Nigeria, I was a first-time mum myself. Ezra was just starting to cruise at 10 months old.
Nwando, only 1 year older, was a chatty little toddler and fiercely possessive of our mother.
My mum adopted her as a baby, not long after we buried my father. For some months, she’d been talking about adopting a child — she’d been inspired by a couple of her sisters who had themselves adopted little ones, years after their natural born chicks had flown the nest.
But neither my older brother, my sister nor I had imagined she would adopt an infant nor could we foresee how intricately Nwando’s story would become woven into our family history.
Being in her late ’60s, my mother predicted that Nwando might refer to her as ‘grandma’ by the time she started school.
To this day, Nwando simply calls her ‘Mummy’ and she is every bit my mother’s child. People even say she looks like me.
Some might question why a woman way past childbearing age would adopt a baby. But in Nigeria, not only is there a wider support network for raising kids (the proverb ‘it takes a village’ is said to originate from our tribe, the Ibos) but the idea of what and who makes a family is far less static.
Nwando is funny, cheeky, independent, super smart, best friends with my kids and the apple of my mum’s eye. She’s our living example of how embracing a child in need can not only transform their life but your own.
There are so many ways to make a difference in a little person’s world — and you don’t have to go as far as adoption.
Child sponsorship is a wonderful option that allows you to invest a small amount for a life-changing impact on the wellbeing of a child and their community.
I’m writing about The First Time in support of ActionAid and Child Sponsorship Week. Last summer I attended the ActionAid Summer Blog Party where I heard about the amazing work the charity does in Myanmar (Burma).
For the first time, ActionAid is able to offer child sponsorship in Myanmar and to launch this programme, actress Samantha Womack took messages created by our children at the ActionAid Blog Party to kids in Myanmar.
Ezra and Jed loved making self portraits and writing short ‘bios’ to describe their daily lives and I felt so proud seeing this video clip of Samantha Womack sharing what my kids made with their Myanmar peers.
ActionAid is asking people across the UK to celebrate Child Sponsorship Week and make a huge change to all the people who have endured decades of struggle and uncertainty in Burma/Myanmar and elsewhere in the developing world.
There are 1600 children in Burma to sponsor but worldwide there are 5000 children that need sponsorship in 17 countries.
For just 50p a day sponsors have the opportunity to change a child’s and community’s future not just for today but forever. For information on how to get involved and transform a child’s life visit www.actionaid.org.uk/child
Get involved for Child Sponsorship Week! Post about The First Time, share this post and videos, think about investing in a child’s future in Myanmar or elsewhere in the world.
Watch Samantha Womack in Myanmar and how her trip encouraged her decision to sponsor a child.
Photo credits: ActionAid (Ezra at Blogging Party and Samantha Womack in Myanmar)