Sponsor meets child

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 August, 2009, 12:00am

A Hong Kong student who has been sponsoring a schoolgirl in Mozambique flew to visit her.

Michael Wong Yu-him, 23, started sponsoring Anaterca Machaieie in June 2005 when he began working as a part-time tutor.

In April, the fourth-year medical student at Chinese University met Anaterca, 14, face to face for the first time. He had only been communicating with her through letters.

He visited the girl at her home village north of the African country's capital Maputo, taking her gifts of a Sudoku set and a puzzle.

Each month, he gave HK$220 from his HK$3,000-odd income to a sponsorship scheme run by World Vision that helped the girl.

'I had always been thinking about sponsoring a child, but it had been impossible until I had a part-time job,' Mr Wong said.

He said sponsoring a child meant more than making donations. It fostered a sense of commitment and care.

'Children are too small to know what money is. What they want most is concern and care,' he said.

Mr Wong was particularly concerned about Anaterca's schooling. He said there were few classes in Portuguese - Mozambique's official language - and English in the rural areas because of a lack of resources and teachers.

'She speaks limited Portuguese and only very basic English. Most of the time, she spoke her dialect to me. We had to talk through two interpreters,' he said. 'Limited access to language learning is a big problem there.'