Formerly Sponsored Child in Zimbabwe
Dedicates His Life to Helping Kids

By Danette Kertz, Child Champion, U.S.A.   |  Photos by Nkosi and Hope Center

From being a sponsored child to becoming a Child Champion, this young man creates a brighter future for kids living in poverty, one smile at a time.

Nkosi poses for a selfie with the author, Danette Kertz.

We’re often asked, “Does sponsorship really work?” “Is my monthly donation going to my child?” “Is the program actually making a difference in children’s lives?”

I can, with confidence, answer yes to all of these (and similar) questions. But don’t take it from me. Take it from someone who lived it.

Meet Nkosikhona (Nkosi), a formerly sponsored child turned Child Champion with OneChild. In the Zulu language, Nkosikhona means “God is present” or “God exists.”

It’s a name that reflects the belief in the presence and existence of the divine.

And Nkosi lives up to his name. This vibrant young man embodies the Zimbabwean spirit by working hard and putting his God-given traits of intelligence, outgoingness, and warmth to good use in his community.

His journey is a testament to the impact of sponsorship and the power of having someone believe in you.

Being a ‘Parent’ to His Siblings

Nkosi’s story began with uncertainty and challenges. Growing up without his father and with a mother who worked tirelessly as a street vendor, Nkosi shouldered responsibilities far beyond his years.

As the eldest sibling, he assumed a parental role, caring for his younger brothers and sisters while navigating the complexities of childhood without a strong support system.

“Growing up, I didn’t have people who were close to me that I felt like I could open up and talk to,” Nkosi recalls. “I had to play an adult part when I was a kid, so I want to give kids the space to be children … because you can’t skip stages.”

Nkosi when he was a student.

However, everything changed when Nkosi was enrolled in the OneChild program when he was 10.

Despite the hardships his family faced, the teachers at Mkhithika Hope Center recognized Nkosi’s potential and welcomed him into the program.

Through sponsorship, Nkosi received not only nutritional, educational, medical, and spiritual support but also the affirmation that someone cared about his future.

Nkosi’s journey sheds light on the transformative impact of sponsorship, especially in regions like Zimbabwe where financial barriers often obstruct children’s access to education.

Finding a Job With No Education a Struggle

The current system in many schools allows parents to pay half the fees up front and any outstanding balance at the end of the term after exams.

However, if parents cannot afford to pay the rest, their children are denied their completion documents, effectively rendering them “uneducated” in the eyes of society.

Without education, finding employment in Zimbabwe becomes nearly impossible, as even basic tasks require a minimum educational level. Consequently, many uneducated individuals resort to informal activities such as street vending to sustain themselves.

In a country where multiple side-hustles are the norm, sponsorship becomes a lifeline for families, allowing parents to focus on providing for their children’s basic needs.

Upon completing the program, Nkosi embraced his role as a volunteer with OneChild, dedicating his time at Cowdray Park Primary School, where, as a Child Champion, he serves as a beacon of hope for kids just like him.

Motivated by His Childhood Experience

His decision to give back stemmed from his own childhood experiences and the desire to provide children with the support system he lacked during his formative years.

Nkosi is grateful to his sponsor, who made a big impact on his life.

Through his work, which includes tutoring, event planning, office help, and feeding the children their daily porridge, Nkosi strives to create safe spaces where kids can embrace their childhoods, free from the burdens of adulthood prematurely thrust upon them.

Reflecting on his journey, Nkosi expresses heartfelt gratitude to sponsors like his whose generosity impacts lives and inspires hope.

“Everything you do for these kids is appreciated. Nothing you do for these kids is taken for granted,” Nkosi says. “Many of them hang your letters up on the wall for display and make frames for the pictures you send. So, from the bottom of my heart on behalf of all of us, thank you.”

Goal to Make People Smile

As Nkosi continues to advocate for kids living in poverty, he holds fast to his own aspirations of becoming a news reporter in Harare, the capital city, someday.

He has plans to return to school to fulfill his dream and be equipped to take care of himself and his family.

Nkosi also wants to branch out beyond Zimbabwe and experience other cultures, people, and lifestyles.

“Every time I meet someone, I make sure I make that person smile,” Nkosi says. “Because I know that a minute of a smile that I give to that person, it helps them actually forget about their troubles for a moment. Which is a good thing. I can’t do much, but at least I can do that — make someone smile.”

Nkosi’s path from a sponsored child to a Child Champion exemplifies the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of love. Through sponsorship and volunteerism, individuals like Nkosi are creating a brighter future for children around the world, one smile at a time.

As we celebrate Nkosi’s achievements, we recognize the invaluable role of sponsorship in shaping the futures of children worldwide.

Join us in making a difference in the lives of children like Nkosi by sponsoring a child. Together, we can create a world where every child has the opportunity to thrive and build a brighter future for generations to come.



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