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Reaching Across the Miles, Alison Encourages Nimesha

Home > Learn More > Stories & News > Reaching Across the Miles, Alison Encourages Nimesha
By Himangi Jayasundere, ChildFund Sri Lanka
Posted on 11/16/2016

In the foyer of the charitable trust fund that Alison Wildey runs in a small town called Alexandria in New Zealand, there is a picture of a little Sri Lankan girl named Nimesha.

Now 11, Nimesha is one of four children Alison sponsors through ChildFund New Zealand, one of our partners in the ChildFund Alliance. They live thousands of miles apart, but they’re like family, Alison says. Her work colleagues organize bake sales to raise funds for Nimesha’s needs, including a special wheelchair that helps her cope with her physical disabilities.

Alison first thought of sponsoring a child after picking up a ChildFund pamphlet at a supermarket several years ago. “I never saw the pamphlets again,” she says, but something had stirred within her, and she has sponsored four children over the last nine years. Alison connected with Nimesha three years ago after asking to sponsor a child with a disability.

Having worked as a nurse for several years, Alison started her nonprofit foundation with the aim of helping people with disabilities live independently.

Since then, Alison has visited Nimesha’s family three times in Sri Lanka. Nimesha’s condition has improved over time, and she can draw pictures — using her toes because she has poor control over her arms and hands. Often, she watches educational programs on a TV that Alison helped the family purchase for Nimesha, who is sometimes homebound.

“I see the light in her eyes now,” Alison says. “It is completely different from three years ago. It’s amazing how a little help can go a long way. I just gave a little helping hand, and now they are doing it all on her own.”

Nimesha has begun drawing pictures of flowers, rabbits, sailboats and other subjects, all in brilliant colors. Alison then prints the drawings as cards to sell in New Zealand and sends the proceeds back to Nimesha. “I want to encourage her to become what she wants to be and to improve her skills,” Alison says. “As an artist, she will have a profession. She will have dignity.”

Alison has traveled all of her life, but it’s different visiting her sponsored children, she says. “When you visit it becomes real; it’s not like depositing some money in the bank. You realize that this is a child, this is a family, this is a community.”

  • Nimesha spends time with her sponsor, Alison.
  • Using her toes, Nimesha draws a picture.
  • Nimesha’s drawing of sailboats. Alison, her sponsor, turns her drawings into printed cards.
  • Nimesha loves to make colorful drawings of flowers.


Photos and captions by ChildFund staff

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