Sponsorship helped Ariane overcome poverty
A former sponsored child, Ariane Sagusara-Mapula, grew up in a family that faced many challenges. Her parents were separated and her mother had health-related disabilities. But today, thanks to sponsorship and determination, she has graduated with a university degree and lives in New Zealand.
Life was difficult for her growing up with five family members crammed in a one-bedroom house in a squatter community in the Philippines.
“We were one step away from the neighbours, it was a very congested community,” she says.
“We would put a mattress down in the living room at night and move it during the day.”
Her father was the breadwinner for the family, but he separated from her mother when Ariane was very young, leaving her mother to provide for her, her sister and her grandparents.
The family struggled daily to meet their basic needs. Ariane’s mother had a disability, which made it difficult for her to find work.
“My mum had polio and only had one leg; she had a hard time finding a permanent job.”
To earn money, her mother would make hotcakes and Ariane and her sister would sell them in their neighbourhood.
“It wasn’t enough, so my mother would borrow money from other people to buy food for us. She also had diabetes, so some of her income would go towards medicine. It was hard because she was also supporting my grandparents,” she says.
Ariane as a sponsored child.
Ariane says growing up without a father was difficult. “It made me really upset seeing complete families—all I ever wanted was for him to come back home. At first, I felt betrayed, but I learnt to forgive.”
When Ariane was five, her mum’s friend told her the local church in the area was looking for children to join the Compassion sponsorship programme.
“My mother applied for my sister and me to be sponsored through Tearfund’s partner Compassion. We were blessed because, at the age of six, we were selected.
Ariane with her friends at the compassion centre.
“When my mother found out I was sponsored through Compassion, it was such a relief for her knowing there was help out there. That help sent me to school with school supplies and a uniform, it gave me dental and medical care and provided our family with food.”
Ariane says she was introduced to Jesus at the centre.
“They would teach us he is a father to the fatherless. I never forgot that.”
Ariane’s first sponsor was a man in Florida called Burley, “He sponsored me from six years old until 16 years old.”
She says he became a father figure to her growing up and helped filled a gap in her life she was missing. “He would ask in his letters how I was doing. He told me, even though your father is not present in your life, I can be your father.”
Ariane's first sponsor Burley with his wife Carrie.
“I remember getting excited when I saw my name on the chart and saw a letter from my sponsor. I was always looking forward to replying and telling him I was doing okay,” she says.
Ariane’s sponsor also gave her extra support during her birthday.
“I remember getting new clothes and shoes. This was a big deal for me.” Ariane had the opportunity to go to Davao University in the Philippines to study psychology because of her second sponsor, Bomina, who was a doctor from Korea.
“She came on a visit to the centre, met me and decided to sponsor me. That meant my tuition fees were paid for, my transportation costs, my uniform, anything I needed to attend university was covered by her sponsorship.”
Ariane with her second sponsor Bomina.
“Growing up I wanted to be in a helping profession and help people like my mum. I would dream of being a doctor. Although I’m not a doctor, I still work in the helping profession.”
Ariane having the opportunity to attend university was a miracle. Without Bomina’s sponsorship and Compassion it would not have been possible as Ariane’s mother had a serious accident, which meant she couldn’t work.
“My mum was walking in the mall; the floor was wet because we’d had some heavy rain. Her crutches touched the wet floor and she slipped and fell and fractured her left leg. She spent two months in hospital, because of her existing health conditions. She eventually returned home in a wheelchair, but she was not able to walk or stand for one year.”
Her father returned to the family not long before the accident happened. But her father’s income was not consistent enough to support the family.
“We were worried how we were going to pay my mother’s medical bills, I didn’t think attending university was going to be an option,” she says. Compassion not only helped pay for her mother’s medical bills. They also gave her and her sister an allowance for food.
Ariane's graduation photo with her sister, mother and father.
“If it wasn’t for the support of Compassion and my sponsor, I would not have been able to study and complete my degree.” “God has blessed me in so many ways. You’re not wasting your money if you decide to sponsor a child, because you are changing the trajectory of someone’s life and one of those lives is mine. I am so thankful.”
Most of the children in her class at the centre are now successful. “They are all professionals now, some work abroad, others have families of their own. If you were to look at our lives before, that would have never been a possibility,” she says.
Ariane now lives in Auckland with her husband and has just been granted a working visa, so is looking for work.
Ariane with her husband Jasten on their wedding day.
“My husband and I met when we were neighbours in the Philippines. His house was just a few steps away from mine.”
Ariane says her sister is living in the Philippines with her father, and sadly her mother died of a heart attack three years ago.
“She will always be the strongest woman and biggest inspiration in my life,” she says.
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