Extreme poverty is more than a lack of basic physical needs. Experiencing poverty firsthand shows that its true power comes from killing one’s inner drive which pushes us all forward in life.
In Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs, physiological needs — such as food, water and clothing — must be met before an individual is able to meet other needs such as security, love and confidence.
This brings out how challenging it was for me to feel secure at home while my parents were gone for the entire day trying to take care of our family. Here is the place where Compassion International stepped in to meet my basic needs and provide an avenue by which my higher needs were also met.
Writing back and forth with my sponsor, Sandy, encouraged and challenged me to not only survive but also to learn how to thrive in any environment. She urged me to excel in Kibera through hard work at school and on the soccer field.
The valued, uplifting words of encouragement kept flowing unceasingly from Sandy. She was my source of security even when I was faced with extreme poverty. All the way from Vancouver, Canada, she kept me at the top of my game.
Her effort is what kept the fire from burning out.
I strongly recommend pursuing a relationship with your sponsored child instead of just providing your monetary donation. The physical needs met on a monthly basis are undeniable, but it’s only the beginning. You have the ability to not only meet the basic needs of your sponsored child but to be a catalyst in the transformation of his or her life.
You can be the driving factor to inspire a child to greatness. And it only takes a moment.
For me, the letters from my sponsor changed my life. By writing to your sponsored child, you help him or her fight the emotional battles of being a child in extreme poverty. You nurture the excellence which poverty stifles.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Godfrey Miheso graduated from Sterling College with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2011. He currently resides in Orlando, Fla. with his wife, Kate, where he coaches soccer at Orlando City Youth Soccer and The Master’s Academy.