Quinte, On. real estate agent: Aid That Works

Aid That Works

I don't know how often I hear people say that foreign aid is a waste of money. People tell me that giving money to these causes is like throwing good money after bad. In a way, I can see their point. Oftentimes the money is wasted, and it does seem as if there is a never-ending list of causes. It can seem rather discouraging at times.

Well, let me tell you about something that worked.


Jhojan Camilo was one of the first children that I sponsored through World Vision. He lives in the community of EL PORVENIR SANTANDER in Columbia. This was the picture I recieved when I first sponsored him in 2000. He's a handsome little fellow, and as it turned out, quite a bright one too. He was a normal little boy, and did a lot of the things normal boys around the world do, except he didn't go to school and he couldn't read or write. Initially our communication was done through a World Vision worker in Columbia.

Last week I recieved a letter from World Vision telling me that I was no longer sponsoring Jhojan. My sponsorship was no longer needed in the community of El Porvenir Santander. Through World Vision's partnership with the community, it is now a self sufficient community, no longer in need of outside aid.

This is how World Vision works. The motto is "A hand up, not a hand out." When they go into a community they partner with the people and develop goals. The area becomes an ADP (Area Developmental Project). Typically, the goal is for World Vision to leave the area in ten to twelve years and when they do, the community will be able to stand on its own two feet.

El Porvenir Santander was a town without clean drinking water and sewage. Now it has both. Parents recieved nutritional instruction and are aware of health care practices, the children are no longer malnourished. Because of the military violence in the area, households were run by women who neither had the time or the means to send their children to school. Women were helped with this burden and those who wished to get an education were able to through programs set up by World Vision. Families who wished to establish a small business recieved micro loans. World Vision established a school where children not only learned the basics, but were able to enroll in music, theatre programs, sports and learned life skills. The boys now have options other than joining the paramilitaries or engaging in criminal activities. Farmers were given the means, education and improved strains to get much higher crop yields. This diversity in diet did wonders for the children and the community at large.

Much like the town, Jhojan flourished too. He enrolled in school, learned how to read and write. He began to write letters to me (which were translated from Spanish) and I to him. He eventually put me to shame, and began to write to me in English. He is not a little boy any more. He is an intelligent, articulate, witty and educated young man who will be attending university next year. Jhojan will pass on many of the things he has learned to the children that are coming behind him. He will be a leader in his community, and he is fully embracing the possibilities that life has to offer him.

If we could just ensure that our aid money went to programs that really helped to benefit the recipients, I am sure that there would be fewer grudging people in North America. While I no longer sponsor Jhojan financially ($35.00 a month  -  what a bargain) our relationship is not finished. We will keep in touch. I look forward to seeing what this young man will accomplish. When I really think about it, I'm not sure that Jhojan is the one who benefitted the most from our relationship.

Comment balloon 16 commentsMalcolm Johnston • August 28 2010 03:15PM


Hi Malcolm,  Wow, that is a verycool story !  I guess we all wonder how well our aid money is spent but your experience leaves no doubt about what it meant to this younf man.  Well done !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 8 years ago

Bill Gillhespy Fort Myers Beach Realtor (Century 21 Tripower Realty) Thank you Bill, it is a cool story. In this case, it really did make a difference. :-)

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 8 years ago

What a wonderful success story Malcolm.  I know sometimes we all feel that the problems are just too big, but this really shows what people CAN do to make a difference.

Posted by Kristen Wheatley, Supporting Success - Best Job in the World! (Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group) over 8 years ago

This is so refreshing... to know that you can make a difference, and then do it...

Congratulation Malcolm, you know the "rewards" are priceless.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Helping one child helps the world--more of us need to follow your lead.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) over 8 years ago

Malcolm: Being a sponsor for World Vision has allowed me to experience a sense of caring that I had not experienced before.


Posted by Ty Lacroix (Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc) over 8 years ago

Malcolm, this is a very encouraging story. I have always been reluctant to make overseas donations because of the percentage that DOES NOT go to the intended recipient. $35 per month is not a hardship if the results are as good as you have experienced.

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Hi Malcolm,

It is good to know the way World Vision works for I am one of those people who donate very carefully because a lot of organizations take my donations and apply them to "administrative costs" rather than use the money for the cause itself.

I've always been a strong believer in "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

Thanks for the info.

Posted by Not In Real Estate Any Longer over 8 years ago

I have a long list of organizations to which I regularly donate based on my own experiences with them. I have not done anything with World Vision, but I just might have to add them to my list now.

Posted by Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer (Russel Ray) over 8 years ago

I love it Malcolm. I have sponsored a child both with Mission of Mercy and Compassion International and I highly recommend it. Getting their letters and sharing life stories with them are the best. Watching them grow and mature and knowing your contributions are making a huge difference warms the soul.

Posted by Shar Sitter, Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M (Rooms With Style) over 8 years ago


We too have sponsored children through World Vision and I would certainly recommend it.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 8 years ago

We have had the same experience with World Vision Malcolm. When we first received the letter saying our sponsorship was no longer needed we were stunned! They really do good work. 

Posted by Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers, Our Family Wants To Help Your Family! (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Kristen Wheatley /S. Central Maine Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Mid Maine) You're right Kristen, sometimes the problems do seem too big, but we can still contribute.

Chris Smith - serving South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville and area (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) Thank you very much Chris. There's no bigger reward than seeing this young man  beat the obstacles. 

Norma Toering Rolling Hills & Palos Verdes Property (REMAX Palos Verdes Realty Lic# 01147470) Thanks Norma, I also feel that the whole world benefits when we help children get an education.


Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 8 years ago

Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc That's so true Ty, we start seeing people as individuals, not statistics.

Ellie McIntire Real Estate in Howard County Maryland (The McIntire Team of Long & Foster) We do have to be careful about who we give our money to Ellie, that's why I support World Vision. 82 cents out of every dollar goes to the intended cause.

Pam McInnes - Here to Help You and Your Pets (Team Realty K.W. Inc., Brokerage - Kitchener, ON Canada) There's a site you can refer to Pam, it's called charitywatch.

Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer (Russel Ray) Check out their website Russel.

Shar Sitter; Home Staging in Minneapolis, MN (Rooms With Style; Home Staging in Minneapolis, St. Paul ) Shar, it is incredible watching these kids grow.

Brian Madigan LL.B. (Royal LePage Innovators Realty, Broker) Thanks Brian, I would definitely recommend it too.

Al and Peggy Cunningham, Brokers Voted Best Real Estate People Brampton (RE/MAX Realty Services Inc. Buying or Selling) That is a great feeling Al and Peggy, knowing that the community is now self sufficient.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 8 years ago
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