“Rewarding and life-changing for all of us” – a Canadian family visits their sponsored child in Peru

Lidia, 9

Lidia, 9

Meet the Johnson family – Greig, Gina and their two children, Lydia and Owen.

After travelling the world and seeing many children in need, the Johnson’s made a collective decision to sponsor a child.

“It was important to find a way to make a difference in the life of a child whose path was not as easy,” says Greig.

“One evening, a pair of Plan International representatives arrived on our front porch,” he explains. “It could not have been simpler or easier to participate. Our children were involved in the process. Owen, 12, selected Peru as the country of origin and our daughter, Lydia, 10, chose the gender and age of our sponsored child.”

After receiving their Child Sponsorship welcome package, the family were delighted to discover that they were sponsoring Lidia, 9, who shared their daughter’s name and similar age.

It was after the family received their first letter from Lidia that they started planning their big adventure to go meet her in person.

From Canada to rural Peru

After being picked up from their hotel by Plan International staff, the Johnson family embarked on a long, winding journey into the heart of rural Peru. Along the way, they learned more about the many ways their support is benefitting not just one child, but an entire community.

Lidia's class with Johnson family

Their first stop was Lidia’s elementary school, where they were warmly greeted with a song from Lidia and her entire 4th grade class.

“It was surreal to see the little girl whose face was familiar to us only from a photo come to life,” Greig recalls. “Our children were thrilled to meet her, and to discover similarities to their own classrooms back in Canada.”

In the classroom, the Johnsons were able to see firsthand how they were helping improve children’s access to education and provide essential school supplies for learning.

Creating lasting memories Lidia and Lydia

Next, the Johnson family visited Lidia’s home where they were greeted with smiles from her parents and her youngest sibling. Together, everyone sat down to enjoy a home cooked meal, ask questions, share stories and laugh.

“We were guests in their home and they graciously hosted a lunch in our honour. We saw that our sponsorship dollars were funding community-based programing to help improve the lives of families in that region.”

At Lidia’s family home, the Johnsons also met with 2 local community leaders and learned more about how Plan International is collaborating with these leaders to meet the community’s needs and goals over a 10-year period.

“The two gentlemen representing this group expressed their gratefulness for our involvement with Lidia, and the educational programs they were able to offer as a result. They were not able to do this before,” says Greig.

The beginnings of a long-lasting friendship 

When it came time to say goodbye, the Johnsons were left with overwhelming gratitude for the wonderful experiences they shared with Lidia, her family and the community too.

“This visit was rewarding and life-changing for all of us,” Greig explains. “We were so fortunate to meet our sponsored child. It has given us the most amazing start to a relationship that we hope will last for many years.”

Johnsons with Lidia's family

You, too, can make a difference

So, what do the Johnsons have to say to anyone considering Child Sponsorship?

Greig sums it up: “Plan International makes it easy to make a difference. Never have we been more certain that our contribution is changing a life for the better.”

Sponsor a child today!