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The Sweitzers’ sponsorship journey

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Posted on 2/25/2021
Man and woman stand with their sponsored child in Vietnam.

Kent and Sarah Sweitzer (right) share a smile with their sponsored child Diep (in white)
and her mother during the Sweitzers’ recent trip to Vietnam.

To sponsor a child is to take an incredible journey of the heart.

Kent and Sarah Sweitzer should know. The couple have been avid globetrotters since their honeymoon back in the 1970s, when they traveled through western Europe for three months with nothing but backpacks and rail passes. In fact, they were traveling in California in 2011 when they were approached by a ChildFund staffer who asked the fateful question, “Would you like to sponsor a child?”

They decided to sponsor Diep (pronounced Zi-ep), 7, from Vietnam. “We like to believe we have a global perspective on why some of the world has so much, and other parts of the world are denied the basics,” says Kent. “So we said ‘yes’” – and since then, their lives have never been the same.

Traveling for good 

Over the years, through their exchange of letters, photos and gifts, Kent and Sarah watched Diep grow from a little girl struggling with the challenges of poverty into a confident, relentlessly positive young woman. When Diep wrote that it would be a dream come true to meet them, the Sweitzers decided it was high time to pack their bags and take yet another trip halfway around the world.

And what a trip it was! Kent and Sarah visited the ChildFund Vietnam office in Hanoi before heading out to the rural village where Diep lives. There, they got to meet Diep and her family, share a meal and watch her play rugby on her team with Pass It Back, a ChildFund program that teaches life skills through sports.

The sponsorship journey: an opportunity for 'ripple effects' 

“ChildFund keeps their mission focused on making the lives of children better by building self-esteem, fostering teamwork and improving health and education,” Kent says. “Having the opportunity to see firsthand how they partner with communities gave us the incentive to provide a gift beyond sponsorship.” After returning home, the Sweitzers made a generous $10,000 donation to ChildFund to support programs in Vietnam.

“Life is so full, but often so short and fleeting,” Kent says. “And while there’s a never-ending need on this planet for funds to improve lives, there is a special need for those that assist children. The smallest positive changes in a child’s life can have ripple effects for our world that can be passed down to the next generations.”

Girl in Vietnam plays rugby outside.

Diep, 16, plays a game of rugby with her friends as part of ChildFund’s Pass It Back program. 
Photo by Kent Sweitzer. 

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