The Costa del Sol charity season is starting up, and the hottest ticket in town is the World Vision Spring Gala at Marbella’s Puento Romano Hotel.
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Euro Weekly News is proud to be the official Media Sponsor for the event on Friday May 23 which will help bring hope to poverty-stricken children in some of the poorest countries on the planet.
Here the Euro Weekly News speaks to Mathew Neville, Public Engagement Director at World Vision to learn a little about the charity’s work.
Mathew, you have worked for World Vision for 7 years and prior to that, you worked in the telecoms industry – latterly at Orange. What was it about World Vision which inspired this change in direction?
I saw a documentary on television about child slavery and I couldn’t believe that this was happening in the 21st century. I looked into it a bit more and learnt that there are more people in slavery today than there has been at any previous point in history – children in sexual slavery working in brothels, working in dangerous conditions as slaves in mines or hidden away in domestic slavery. I felt that I couldn’t just ignore this. I was already a supporter a World Vision and so got in touch and offered my skills in marketing. Simply put, World Vision is the best organisation in the world for making a difference to vulnerable children’s lives.
Can you tell us a bit more about World Vision?
World Vision is an amazing organisation. I feel like every month I am here I learn something new about an area of our work that inspires and challenges me. Everything that we do has just one goal – the sustained well being of the most vulnerable children living in the world’s toughest places. Our model is to work in one community for 15 years so that we can make a lasting impact. After 15 years we believe that it is right to move on to the next community and not create a long term dependence.
Have you visited any World Vision projects? What were the best and hardest aspects of that?
I have visited World Vision work in different parts of the world and I come away with such different impressions.
Poverty is such a difficult subject to capture in adequate words, and solutions to poverty are even more complex and often more amazing than you could ever imagine.
Take the story of Jafar and Diane for instance. Jafar Ahmed is a young English teacher in one of the schools I visited in Bangladesh that World Vision has been supporting. This school is so remote that there are no roads that go there; we took a boat for half an hour up the river to reach it.
Jafar gave a passionate speech to the children about World Vision and said that every time he hears mention of us his heart leaps for joy. He said that he had been supported by World Vision and it was World Vision that gave him the encouragement and support that he needed to become a teacher.
That evening I phoned Diane and her husband who had given direct support to Jafar through our work. It was so fantastic to hear the excitement in their voices to get news of Jafar like hearing news of a long lost friend or relative. They said they had often wondered how he was getting on. I felt so privileged to be able to tell them how grateful Jafar was for their support and how he had insisted that I pass on his heartfelt thanks to them. How could Diane and her husband ever
know that their donation would have such an impact on his life and, through him, on the children of this community so many years later? How could Jafar ever know that he would bring so much joy to the lives of two people living thousands of miles away in England?