It's kinda funny when the table was turned. After years of interviewing countless people, I became an interviewee, but it was a very meaningful `task'!
Last Saturday, World Vision orgnised a gathering themed `Tribute to Sponsors'. I was already planning to go but was pleasantly surprised when Jess (who works at WV) invited me to share about my experience, in particular on meeting my sponsored child from a trip to China with WV last year.
But then I had to do it in Mandarin! Well, there was no excuse to say no as Mandarin is mother tongue (I speak at home) although I am more at ease to express myself in English these days.. More importantly, there will be guests and potential sponsors at the gathering so it's all for a good cause to help promote WV child sponsorship program..
I think there were about 200 people who came to the function held at PJ Hilton. A room was used to exhibit information regarding child sponsorship in various countries and another was where the speeches and presentation were held.
I met Serena, whom i knew from the WV sponsors trip to Yongsheng, China. Both of us would be `interviewed' together in the sponsors' sharing session.. so at least I won't be alone! :p
This year marks World Vision Malaysia's 10th year anniversary. According to executive director Liew Tong Ngan, today there are 13,000 Malaysians sponsoring 17,200 children from Mongolia, china, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, India, Lebanon, South America and Africa.
WV target is to sign up 5,000 sponsors this year and so far, they have reached 3,136. And I heard from the gathering itself where sponsors bring their friends, more people have signed up so they should be achieving the goal.. :)
Back to the event. A WV area development project manager from Lebanon was here to share of their work in rebuilding the communities in post-war Lebanon, and showed us videos as well. Then after that was a short break where the Mandarin emcee William gave a brief `rehearsal' with me and Serena.
Basically he only had three questions to ask each of us: 1. how did we come to become child sponsor with WV; 2. what were the most memorable experience from our trip; 3. what were some of the ways WV had helped the communities we visited.
And so, with some preparation before hand, the actual interview/sharing session went quite smoothly... The emcee was quite a pro so it was quite lively. But for me, at time I found myself searching for the right Chinese words and had to mix with English! Definitely Serena spoke much more fluent Mandarin than me!
We managed to engage the audience i think.. actually I could have shared more - especially of my encounter with my sponsored child. But time was limited - the whole thing took 15 minutes.
When the interview was over, both Serena and me were immediately nabbed a reporter from Nanyang Siang Pau who wanted to further interview us! And now there's where the table was turned.. she asked us many questions and later told us she has just signed up to become a child sponsor too! How great is that.. ! :)
Because of the interview, we missed Francisca Peter, WVM ambassador's sharing, and also singing with the children from Harvest Centre. But I could hear they belted out You'll Be in My Heart' and `You Raise Me Up'.. ahh.. too bad.
Francisca, whom I interviewed about a year ago, recognised me and was ever so friendly. So were the staff and volunteers of World Vision. I find kinda embarrassed as they all knew who I was - because my photos had appeared in their newsletter and website.. but I didn't know most of them!
Really, I'm glad and feel honoured to be able to share my experience and thoughts, for although it's just a small part, it's something meaningful. And i hope that what we shared were able to inspire someone among the audience to want to join in as a child sponsor. Imagine, only RM50 a month and you're able to make a difference to a child's life.
So the article - centred on both Serena and my own sharing (also with our photos!) came out in Nanyang Siang Pau the following day. It's not the first time I appeared on the paper but I think this to me is the most meaningful.. Thanks to the paper/reporter, many more people would have known about World Vision's sponsorship program..and hopefully our personal testimonies would also move some hearts...
With the ever-young-and-pretty Francisca Peter; with Serena and a WV staff from Lebanon
Unveiling the 3-D model of `Vision Village'; audience packed the room
Serena and me at the sharing/interview session hosted by William
Being interviewed by a reporter from Nanyang
Francisca singing with the children from Harvest Centre
With William, Serena and Stella (all of them are WV volunteers)