Sosina grew up in extreme poverty in Ethiopia, but now she’s in veterinary school! Though she lives on just $12 a month, she gives a quarter of it away to help a girl in need — just as she was once helped.
As a little girl, Sosina’s biggest worry was whether or not her mother would have enough money to cover her school supplies, tuition fees and her school uniform. Each year, she never knew if she would be able to return.
Her mother was just 13 years old when she gave birth to Sosina. She worked hard to raise her daughter the best she could, washing clothes and baking injera to earn an income. Though she worked hard to support her daughter, she was a young, single mother without any family support system.
That’s why Sosina still still vividly remembers the relief she felt the day her mother got help.
People from the Nekemete Full Gospel Believers Church had seen how Sosina and her mother were living, so they asked Sosina to join their Compassion-assisted child development center.
“I am so lucky that she decided to get me registered,” says Sosina.
She soon found family, friends and, most of all, relief from her worries. The provision of school supplies and other necessities eased the fears that no child should have to worry about. As she grew up attending the center activities, she also learned about God’s love and received mentoring and life-skills training.
“Being in the program didn’t only fulfill my basic needs and provide me with school supplies,” says Sosina. “I also received all the counsel and motivation that a father would give to a child from the center staff. I have the values I have now because of the things I learned at the center.”
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In addition to the strong relationship she has with the center staff, Sosina equally treasures her relationship with her sponsor.
“In all her letters, my sponsor tells me that she prays for me. Knowing that motivates me and makes me feel secure. I long to hear from her and I treasure all her letters. Her encouragement has made a huge difference in my life,” says Sosina.
“If a woman who never met me in person cares enough to support and pray for me, I thought I would also one day follow in her footsteps,” says Sosina. “I was inspired to live for someone other than myself.”
Sosina’s opportunity to pay it forward came in 2017.
She was a college student in her second year of veterinary medicine. Still sponsored, she was receiving monthly support of $12 a month from Compassion to help cover her college living expenses. One Sunday morning during the worship service, her pastor announced the church’s new community outreach initiative.
For 12 years, Full Gospel Believers Church in Nekemete has partnered with Compassion to fight the abject poverty in the town, supporting children in need in the community. The entire community highly regards the partnership, which has transformed so many lives. But the need was still so great. The average adult in Nekemete earns just $20 in one month. Every day, church leaders heard bleak stories of parents being unable to support their families.
The church wanted to do more to meet the need. Inspired by Compassion’s model, the church crafted a strategy to encourage their own church members to support children in the community. For $3 a month, members would commit to support a child themselves or join a group of two, four or even eight people to split the cost.
For days, Sosina could not stop thinking about how she could afford to support a child. Her only income was the $12 allowance from Compassion. But after discussing it with her mother and a lot of prayer, Sosina decided to use what little money she had to make an impact.
Sosina began supporting a young girl named Deborah.
She helps her attend school and helps meet her basic needs.
“I see myself in Deborah,” says Sosina.
“I understand her worries but I also see what she can achieve. I know too well how the presence of Compassion changed the course of my life. I just want to bring that kind of hope in Deborah’s life. I’m fortunate to get an opportunity like this, an opportunity that grants me the blessing and the joy found in giving.”
Now 20 years old and soon to graduate the Child Sponsorship Program, Sosina is building a relationship with Deborah, meeting with her whenever the church can arrange visits.
She knows exactly what to discuss with the little girl. Just as she once received counsel and encouragement from the center staff and her own sponsor, Sosina talks about the importance of working hard to achieve a dream, being strong and trusting God. She also tells the little girl that she is valued and prays for her constantly.
“It’s not all the time that God puts others in our path. But when he does, I believe it is not just others who benefit from what we can offer,” Sosina says. “I think blessing others also brings blessings to us. I never lacked money for what I need. This is the blessing in giving.”