Moses Pulei knows the benefits of child sponsorship up close and personal.
The oldest of four sons, Pulei grew up in a mud hut 40 miles from Namanga, a town along the Tanzania-Kenya border. Life in his village was so laid-back, he can only guess his age—his passport lists it as 44.
His boyhood goals were simple: get circumcised, become a Maasai warrior, then spend his life raising cows, goats, and sheep, just like his father and uncles before him. His youngest brother did just that, refusing to enroll in school.
"I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't been sponsored," says Pulei. "It meant a complete change in how I lived."
Sponsors (alongside partner World Vision) provided him a school uniform and books, and their support ensured health exams and the certainty of year-round nourishment, even during East African famines. World Vision also planted trees in his community to address the problem of deforestation.
Kenya's government provides its citizens with a free primary education, albeit in partnership with churches, particularly in rural areas. However, neither party provided the books and other supplies that made it possible for Moses and two of his brothers to attend school.
And although only two Pulei children had sponsors, the whole family benefited from the resources and gifts that came with sponsorship. Staff taught his father how to raise healthier livestock and earn more money for those he took to market.
"My dad had a flock of sheep that he called his 'World Vision sheep,' because he got them as a result of a Christmas gift," Pulei says.
Sponsorship played a crucial role in Pulei's spiritual life as well. As a senior in high school, ...