Going back home? Already?

Catarina Almeida

On our first day, we felt as though we’d been here a week—we were really tired! Now, it feels like we’ve only just arrived, trying to work out if the time we had left was enough for us to be with the children… It was a wonderful experience for us and for them.

Village residents. Photo by José Casimiro.

Today we met a family whose father had to leave his wife and two children so that he could offer them something better. The mother is a force of nature! She works and takes care of the children all by herself. The house was built with everyone’s hard work. Mum spoke proudly of the bathroom, which her husband had built himself.

The support of the Child-Friendly Space (CFS) means that the children can enjoy a happy childhood. The volunteers provide moments of safety and security while Mum is out. Mum works on a farm where she takes care of the crops. Dad visits them once a year, when he spends his time putting the finishing touches on the house he built for his family with his bare hands.

Now, with the support the CFS gives to this family, both the children have opportunities and can dare to dream. They can be whatever they want when they grow up because the CFS helps them and creates a safe and fun space for them to play and grow.

A strong family with great values. Photo by Bai Kamara.

We’d hoped to see more children, but the sun was unforgiving. At the debriefing, we were praised for our dedication during those days. We were just being ourselves, and were filled with pride for the recognition we received.

We came home with the certainty that one day we’d want to go back and that all those children would grow into better adults because of all the support and dedication they’re given every day. It was the experience of a lifetime and one we’ll always remember lovingly.

It’s time to go home and start thinking about how we’re going to pass on the message. It’s time to get our ideas in order. Thank you, China!

In Lisbon after our experience

 

 

Catarina Almeida

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catarina Almeida

I am 29 years old and live in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. I am currently a Customer Support Centre team leader – IKEA Portugal. My hobby is travelling. I am married and we have a baby boy aged one year. I applied to the IWitness programme because I believe that every child has the right to have a home, food, health and love.

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