Melkam’s Story: “Letters Changed My Life”

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By Alemtsehay Zergaw, ChildFund Ethiopia
Posted on 12/19/2016
Melkam

Melkam is a former sponsored child who is now studying to be a teacher.

By the time Melkam reached 4th grade, both of her parents had passed away. Living with other relatives in Ethiopia's capital city of Addis Ababa, Melkam felt lonely, that she had no one to support her.

Soon, though, Melkam found a sponsor through ChildFund's French partner organization. His name is Frederic, and he changed Melkam's outlook on life. Today, at 24, she's working to become a teacher.

"His words of encouragement and advice are my guide for my academic success," she says. "I share my country's culture, celebrations, history, current affairs and other things with my sponsor. From him, I'm able to learn more English words, which has greatly impacted my formal education and performance. I also had the opportunity to learn the French language through corresponding with his family. He has helped me to join the French Language School in Addis, so that I can write and read French."

Exchanging letters has been a large component of their relationship, and it was an opportunity for Melkam to learn basic letter-writing skills and how to express her ideas through writing. Through Frederic's letters, Melkam learned about her sponsor's family, personality, interests and career. He is a hard-working person and often advises her to focus on the big picture, she adds.

Over the years, Melkam and Frederic have become like family. "Without his fatherly encouragement, constant follow-up and support, I wouldn't be able to succeed in my academic and personal life," Melkam says. "He teaches me compassion and responsibility. Because of him, I dream to change children's lives — to help them grow and become successful in their education."