A young woman from Emsworth has returned from a life-changing trip to Africa where she has helped children find a better future.
Jess Owen is back from Ghana where she visited her sponsored child, Linda.
She has supported the 13-year-old for more than three years through child development charity, Compassion UK.
“I was a little nervous before travelling as I’d never been to a developing country before, so I didn’t know what to expect or how it would make me feel,” said the 21-year-old.
Born in Portsmouth, Jess now lives in Emsworth and is studying at Portsmouth University. She is spending a placement year working in marketing at IBM.
Jess added: “I was most impacted by the kindness and love from the Ghanaian villagers we met.
“My sponsored child, Linda, lived in a single room with her seven siblings and mother. They had no furniture, yet they had a traditional Ghanaian stool carved for me as a gift.
“Their generosity and kindness is overwhelming.
“As I walked towards Linda’s house her mother ran to greet me. She had tears in her eyes and she gave me the biggest hug.
“Linda was shy at first but as time went on she opened up and smiled a lot.
“They were so grateful for my support – which was overwhelming because in reality, I really don’t do much – it’s the local Compassion staff who do everything.
“Although Linda doesn’t have a lot, Compassion ensures she has the correct equipment for school and the medical care she needs.”
Linda lives in the forested neighbourhood of Breman Asabiem, home to 300.
The community is 60 kilometres north of Cape Coast, a large city and fishing port in Southern Ghana.
Most adults in Breman Asabiem work on plantations and earn the equivalent of £4 per month.
Jess’s sponsorship of £25 a month enables Linda to be part of her local Compassion project where she receives nutritious meals, emotional support, medical attention and the chance to go to school.
Jess is a regular at the New Life Christian Centre church in Emsworth, which sponsors 174 children from two villages in Ghana, through Compassion UK.
Compassion UK works with more than 1.7 million children around the world.
Working in partnership with the church, they seek out vulnerable children and, with the support of sponsors, provide them with the means to break the cycle of poverty and create a viable future.
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