Ardara woman’s life changing trip to Africa puts things in perspective

pr70110_[1]_Mary McCole 1
THIS year Donegal native, Mary McCole, took a life changing trip Tanzania, Africa where she experienced aid agency World Vision Ireland’s work.

Mary, from Ardara, has sponsored a child with World Vision for a number of years and was fascinated to see how sponsorship money is used to change the lives of so many in local communities where they work.

“I didn’t know what to expect before I arrived in Tanzania. I was slightly worried about what I was about to witness but I am so glad I decided to take this trip. It has been fascinating to see how money contributed by Irish sponsors has been used to change the lives of so many here.


“I met with community groups who, funded by World Vision Ireland, ensure vulnerable and orphaned children get to go to school. I visited schools that were full of bright, enthusiastic children. Some of the schools grew fruit trees. These trees that not only provided nutritious food for the pupils to eat but produced fruit that could be sold in the market for a profit that went back into the school. It was so heartening to see how far my small monthly contribution has gone.” said Mary

“I met children who, despite having nothing in the world, would brighten up the room with their beaming smiles. It was heartbreaking to hear some of their stories, so many had to work so hard from such an early age to help their struggling families. Some had lost one or both of their parents and others had lost brothers and sisters or friends. At such young ages they had already experienced such hardship and pain.

“You could see from their eyes that they just wanted to be kids – to have fun and play, just like all children. So many had hopes and dreams of becoming police men or doctors; it saddened me that the chances of them achieving their dreams were so slim because of where they were born. It’s just not fair.”

“Its amazing to see how far World Vision makes the funding it receives go but so much more needs to be done. This trip really put things into perspective for me. I know we have so many worries in Ireland, especially at this time of year.

“But when I was in Tanzania I met children with nothing and there was no social net for them to fall back to. These kids were at risk of all sorts. Even something as simple as a tummy bug could be a death sentence for a child who doesn’t have access to clean water or decent food. I know times are hard for many people in Ireland now but after witnessing how life changing that money can be in places like this, I would urge people to consider helping kids like the ones I met in some way this Christmas.”

“Last Christmas Donegal people provided 27 African families with a supply of chickens and 31 children with school supplies, as well a many other gifts through World Vision Ireland. That’s something to be really proud of. This year €10 will provide a family with five chickens that will ensure food and an income for them. There are loads of other gifts on the World Vision Ireland website. I know many people question if the money they spend really goes to where it should but I have seen it with my own eyes and I can assure you it does” she added.

World Vision Ireland is offering a number of life changing gifts that won’t cost too much but could change the life of a child who is struggling this Christmas. Some of the gifts available this year include:


Provide a child with school supplies for €10

Provide a Family in the Philippines with a hygiene pack containing soap, towels and laundry cleaners for €10

Set a family up for life with essential farming tools for €30
Help a midwife deliver a healthy baby with a birthing kit containing soap and sterile equipment for €50.

You can buy gifts online at or by calling 1850 366 283

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