Rose Caicco knows all about the incredible effects Child Sponsorship has on people, and their communities. More than 3 decades of sponsorship and 3 visits to the field have shown her the real progress that is possible over time.
In 1996, one of Rose’s personal dreams came true when she travelled to the Dominican Republic with her husband Leo to meet Desiret, her sponsored child, for the very first time.
Rose remembers walking into Desiret’s home, and being taken aback by how little her family truly had.
“I overheard they had to borrow some furniture just to accommodate our visit,” says Rose, who also remembers how Desiret’s small home quickly reached capacity once brothers, aunts, uncles, and elders came to greet her, despite not having anywhere to sit.
In 2004, Rose and Leo returned to visit Desiret once again, and immediately saw a change in the family home; not only did they have a bit more furniture than before, but also a better quality of life.
“With Plan’s support, they were able to do some roof and floor repairs,” says Rose – adding that the surrounding infrastructure had significantly improved, and that Desiret’s mother was able to find employment, which eventually allowed Desiret to attend university several years later.
Seeing Desiret’s family moving forward was an exciting and heartwarming moment for Rose, but it would not be the first time she’d see the benefits of Child Sponsorship come to life.
A garden of opportunity
In 2004, Rose and Leo didn’t just visit Desiret; she also visited Frankleys, a child sponsored by her daughter – Rose and Leo have two daughters, and both are proud child sponsors!
During Rose’s first visit with Frankleys, she recalls looking out at the family’s garden and seeing a sad, dry plot of land that was hardly yielding any greenery due to a lack of access to clean, running water. She also noticed that formal latrines were few and far between.
When Rose returned with her family in 2012, she saw Frankleys’ smiling face once again, and looked out to see a thriving garden filled with healthy vegetables, thanks to a new water system that brought clean water right to the property.
The new water system also contributed to the development of community latrines, which continue to help prevent illness and improve health for Frankleys, his family and the surrounding residents.
Children in charge of their education
The Dominican Republic has the lowest quality of education in Latin America, with 65% of children unable to access some kind of initial education. In addition, more than 35% of young people do not attend secondary school.
As an educator herself, Rose makes it a priority to visit schools supported by Plan International and see how they interact with her sponsored child’s community. Rose says she’s continually impressed by the school projects she’s visited – in particular, she admires the children’s enthusiasm for learning.
“It was obvious to us that the children were engaged and invested in their education,” she says “They owned it, rather than being passive learners, and were eager to share their knowledge with us.”
Child Sponsorship: a gift that keeps giving
Rose’s amazing journeys to The Dominican Republic have reaffirmed her 30 years of Child Sponsorship. She was able to see that her family’s ongoing support has been providing both Desiret and Frankleys with a chance to reach their full potential, while also offering the community hope for a brighter future.
“Over the years, both through letters back and forth and through our visits, it has been amazing to watch our sponsored children develop and see the improvements to their families and communities”.