Wirral woman celebrates 20 years of child sponsorship with Himalayan challenge

International children’s charity World Vision regularly runs Challenge trips both locally and internationally, designed to inspire and transform while raising money for World Vision’s cause.

All funds raised go to vital development projects that can include anything from sanitation to water, education, and nutrition. This means that supporters are helping the world’s most vulnerable children overcome poverty and experience fullness of life.

Recently a group of World Vision supporters trekked for five days around the Annapurna circuit in Nepal’s Himalayas as part of a Challenge trip. The Challengers experienced not only stunning views of the peaks but also four transformational World Vision projects.

One such supporter was Linda, from Wirral, who has been a child sponsor with World Vision for 20 years.

“The trip was amazing. I did it as I wanted the challenge but also wanted to see the great work World Vision is doing in Nepal,” Linda explained. “What a trip! It is something that will stay with me for a long time, the memories of the challenge, the sights we experienced and the wonderful people I met along the way.”

“The journey really started for me before I even left. The various fundraising activities, such as a coffee morning, an evening of entertainment from a local singer, an afternoon tea, a BBQ and a golf event, not only helped raise the funds but left me amazed at the kindness and generosity of people I hardly knew who wanted to support this fantastic charity.”

A key part of the trip for the supporters was the trekking part as well as seeing the work of World Vision, which is no mean feat.

“The training was essential. I knew, at the age of 63 and not being particularly athletic that I had to train hard. It didn’t come easy for me but remembering why I was doing it helped keep me focused and made me continue, week in and week out, to ensure I was not only physically ready but mentally prepared too,” Linda continues.

“The trek was so hard but also amazing! The support and team effort from everyone, including all the World Vision team, was fantastic. We made it to the top of Poon Hill, making good friends with each other. The glorious scenery of the beautiful countryside of Nepal was breathtaking and everywhere you looked the sights were just stunning. This also really helped me carry on.

“We got to know the Nepali team (guides and porters) that supported the trek quite well. They couldn’t do enough for us. They all deserve medals!

“Completing the challenge has given me the confidence to tackle other things I might not have done previously. I have been invited to present about my experience at two local meetings, and this has made me realise that I must have done something worthwhile as people want to hear about it!

“It’s difficult to say only one highlight as there were so many. Getting to the top of Poon Hill to see the sunrise was pretty amazing, however, I think the highlight for me was arriving at the school. The children, parents, teachers and governors etc. had waited so long due to the delays with the landslide and us all having to walk there, however, the welcome was overwhelming. We were greeted with such joy and warmth.

“We were presented with the most beautiful handmade flower garlands. Following talks from various leaders, explaining what a difference the World Vision funding was making, we had a chance to join in some games with the children and then speak directly to them and their parents.

“Everyone we met was so friendly and welcoming; they really made you feel at home wherever we went. People were genuinely pleased to see us and hear about what we were doing and why.

“Besides the challenge and having the fantastic opportunity to trek in the Himalayas, visiting the projects was one of the main reasons I wanted to go on the trip. Seeing first-hand how funds from sponsoring children through World Vision can make such a positive difference to the lives of people in local communities was really humbling. How World Vision work alongside community leaders and have local people involved in leading the project is key to the success they have.

“By working directly with the communities and in partnership with them, World Vision really get to know what can make a difference with these projects and it was an absolute privilege to be able to see first-hand the work that is going on and how funds are being spent.

“I knew the trek would be hard and challenging and it was (particularly on the way down!), but everyone was in it together, and when I struggled I was helped every step along the way. If you’re thinking of joining a World Vision Challenge, don’t hesitate, it will be one of the best experiences of your life!”

Images: World Vision UK

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