Sahlma’s village (pictured), nestled in a hilly region, was virtually destroyed during a 2015 earthquake.
Poverty and child labor were threatening Sahlma’s health, education and future. Her parents noticed the toll that working took on their daughter.
“Sahlma lost her smiling face due to hard labor as a mountain porter [at] such a young age,” they later said.
But if Sahlma didn’t work, how would she and her siblings eat? Her parents were trying but failing to meet their children’s needs, and Sahlma had to do something to provide for her brothers and sister.
Spreading Smiles Around
Then, staff from GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program, which had operations in the nearby town where Sahlma’s parents worked, heard about Sahlma’s situation. The child sponsorship program, which was designed to provide help and hope to children in need, along with their families and communities, could improve opportunities for Sahlma and her family. With solutions such as education and food, the child sponsorship program would help Sahlma to thrive—and the benefits would impact her family.
Wanting to help the girl who was working at far too young an age, the staff enrolled Sahlma into the program. This relieved a financial burden from the family by providing Sahlma’s school tuition, school supplies and nutritious meals. No longer did Sahlma have to work. No longer was it a struggle to buy enough food for the family.
“I am eating such tasty food here,” Sahlma later said of the program as tears filled her eyes.
Eventually, Sahlma and her siblings were able to move to the town where the sponsorship program operated—and where her parents lived. As Sahlma continued to participate in the program, she received care, love and encouragement, and she became interested and diligent in her studies.