Kind-hearted people who sponsor children in Niger were personally thanked by a representative of the drought-stricken West African country.
The international children’s charity World Vision invited six individual supporters of its work in Niger to its Milton Keynes headquarters last week.
Niger is ranked last in the UN’s Humanitarian Development Index, with a life expectancy of 55 years.
It’s literacy rate, at 29 per cent, is the worst in the world. The country also struggles with the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency.
More than 2.1 million people in Niger are reportedly in dire need of food aid, with malnutrition rates in children among the highest in the world.
World Vision has been working in Niger for over 20 years.
At a lunchtime meeting, the charity’s visiting associate director for operations in Niger, Boukary Gambo, thanked the child sponsors for their kindness and generosity.
He said: “Our country is not the most famous in the world. Our challenges and needs are immense and almost insurmountable.
“That the people of the United Kingdom find it within their hearts to support the most vulnerable children in Niger – whom they have never met – speaks volumes about your big hearts and charity.
“It’s been a very humbling experience, meeting these child sponsors in Milton Keynes. This is the first time such a meeting is happening, so it’s a special occasion.
“In Niger, when a child receives a letter from their sponsored individuals, they would run around the village screaming: ‘Look at my letter! Look at this picture of my friend!’
“For them, it’s hard to imagine how someone so far away in a city called Milton Keynes could love them so much.”
Bicester woman Claire McKinley, who is now sponsoring her fourth child, said: “I started sponsoring because I’m very fortunate.
“My family is all healthy, I’m blessed with four healthy children and healthy grandchildren so I really wanted to help someone else.”