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As an educator, Rodrigo Albarrán has dedicated his professional life to helping children. He teaches them English. It would be fair to say that when it comes to supporting kids, he is already doing his part. Ask him, though, and Rodrigo will tell you that he has always wanted to do more.
A longtime supporter of kids in his own country of Chile, Rodrigo was not satisfied with limiting himself to helping on a local level. This mission to help kids on a global scale led him to CI, where his support truly knows no boundaries.
Here, Rodrigo reveals what inspires him to help support kids all over the world.
I’m an English teacher. I help children. For fun, what I like most is training to run races here in Santiago or on the beach, going out and running in the afternoon and playing a little soccer. Another thing I do is work as an extra on TV — in more than one series. Extras don’t have speaking parts. They pay you just for standing there or sitting. I’ve been able to meet the actors in person and see that they are real people. Basically, I’m someone who likes to get out a lot. I’m a good home-person too and a church-goer. I have a lot of people here at my church, so I live a very calm life.
I once sponsored through another organization, but I always wanted to sponsor kids around the world, and that option wasn’t offered — I could sponsor only Chilean kids. So I searched online and Children International came up. Through CI, I was lucky enough to sponsor children, to get to know them. The kids I sponsor are from different countries, all outside of Chile. Only two speak Spanish, and the others all speak English, Hindi, Tagalog and Nyanja. I have had to learn their languages so that I can at least greet them.
You can inspire the little ones, the boys and girls. I have always liked to help kids like this, so for me, it’s such a source of joy every time I get a letter from them when I send them a gift or whatever — the photos, the thank-you letters. So, more than anything, it makes you so happy and satisfied. You feel like you receive much more when you realize what you’re doing is making them happy.
More than anything, it’s about the time and dedication. Asking them, “How are your grades?” or “How is your family?” if they’ve been sick. I tell them all about the things I do and about the customs here in Chile. These are the things that made me decide to sponsor a child.
What I like the most, and what has surprised me in a very positive way, is that all of the Filipino kids write so well in English. In fact, I don’t think I have any kids in my highest-level English classes who can write as well as they do.
So I’ve seen that they are very serious about their studies, and I’ve sponsored a lot of Filipino kids because of that. And it’s also helped me learn Tagalog: lots of expressions for greeting them and ways to say goodbye. I have learned all of that and also Nyanja, which is spoken in Zambia. So it’s been really nice, because that’s exactly how you break not only the language barriers but also the ethnic barriers.
Moni! Bayi! That’s “hello” and “goodbye” in Nyanja, one of the languages spoken in Zambia.
Well, it would be ideal for people to understand and realize that there is a need in all countries, like India or the Philippines or in African countries. A lot of times people say, “No, I don’t help anyone because no one helps me.” And that’s where the mistake is. Everyone says that someone has to do something to help. That someone has to be you. But many people don’t see it that way.
In Chile, there is a wealthy businessman who donated 4 billion pesos to the telethon. That’s like $20 million. And this guy is a magnate, a millionaire who goes out on the street and hands out money and he helps people.
He once said, “Those who have, have to share.”
That really got my attention and I think that, in part, motivated me to keep helping, aside from the Christian side of things. So it’s really nice to be able to help others and effectively unleash — or spread — the word and educate others that one person can make a difference in the life of a child. People don’t know the impact they can have on a child to stay with him until he’s 19 years old, until he finishes the program.
The kids tell me, “You are an inspiration to me. I’m going to get good grades for my parents and for you.” And maybe that’s what these kids need — someone outside of their family who is supporting them on the other side of the world. Someone who cares for them. I think that must be very powerful for them.