We Spoke To A Former Sponsored Child About Her Life-Changing Experience

How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: former sponsor child through World Vision, Reni.

Reni was once living in an Indonesian orphanage with her siblings while her parents worked hard to try and improve their situation and be able to bring their kids home. Thanks to her World Vision sponsor she now has a successful career in Australia’s mining industry.

Lifehacker has partnered with World Vision to share the stories of child sponsorship.

Current gig: Mining Industry

Current location: Queensland

Current mobile device: iPhone 7

Current computer: Macbook

One word that best describes you: Thoughtful

What was your early life like?

I grew up in Indonesia on a small island next to Bali called Lombok, but I was born in Surabaya – the second biggest city in Indonesia. My dad lost his job in Surabaya when I was six years old so we (my parents and my other three siblings and myself) moved to Lombok and we [kids] had to live in an orphanage in Lombok until my parents could get back on their feet.

It was a hard decision for my parents, but there’s no other option as finding a job in a big city was difficult. Our other option was living on the street [or in a] slum.

What was the turning point for you?

While at the orphanage, my mom worked as a cook and I was sponsored by a family from Tasmania through World Vision Australia (WVA). When I was sponsored through World Vision Australia as a child, the kindness of my sponsor gave me hope and the drive to study hard to change the course of my family’s life from poverty. My sponsor’s letters [also] encouraged me to learn English.

I wasn’t the only one receiving the benefit of sponsorship. World Vision Australia supported other kids in the orphanage as well. There were around 60 to 80 kids during my stay there, from grade two elementary school until I finished high school.

All children in the orphanage were able to go to school, have a bed to sleep on, a roof over our head. Meals were provided three times a day and school necessities were supplied [including] books, uniforms, stationery and transport fees to go to school.

What did you go on to study?

GradDip of Management through Central Queensland University (CQUniversity). I selected Management as my major as it allowed me to choose Supply Chain Management and Business law that are relevant to my job.

After World Vision sponsorship got me through school, I secured a job in a mining company in Indonesia and my family left the orphanage. I had a good-paying job that allowed me to support my family. After working there for nearly 9 years, I applied for a mining job in Australia in 2006 and got it. So I have been in Australia since then.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Microsoft excel, outlook, Whatsapp and iTunes.

What were the most important lessons you learned in life?

Be kind to others, as we don’t know the struggle others are going through. [Also] count your blessings.

What has been the most surprising part of your life?

My ability to acclimatise to high altitude. I completed three treks – to Mount Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp, and Peru/Salcantay –  to successfully raise funds for World Vision Australia.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

I think I’m a good listener.


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