05 May 2012
- The Dominion Post. NZ
An Indian woman will tell of her amazing rise from poverty to corporate high flier, thanks to a Wellington sponsor family, at a series of talks this week.
Esther Azariah is touring the country with The Evangelical Alliance Relief (Tear) Fund on the Compassion Tour to promote child sponsorship.
She grew up in Bangalore, a place of great beauty and vibrant colours, but also poverty and pollution.
Her family were suffering from heavy debts incurred by her two older sisters' dowries, when their small business collapsed, leaving the family in desperate straits.
However, at the age of five, she was fortunate enough to start receiving sponsorship from the Tear Fund.
She says the sponsorship changed her life, because she was able to attend primary and secondary school and the Hosmat College of Nursing, graduating with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2008.
She now works at accountants Ernst & Young as a senior associate.
To begin with, she says, she did not know what it meant to be sponsored, but as she grew older, she learned of the sacrifices her Upper Hutt-based sponsor family were making for her.
"It really touched me. The letters they wrote were so inspiring and encouraging, knowing that people far away cared for me."
Ms Azariah says she has been blessed so much that she tries to give back to the community by sponsoring two boys in northern India, being active in supporting numerous charities in her city and providing for her family.
Her sponsor parents, Sonia and Gordon Hadfield, say they are thrilled to have her in New Zealand.
"It's not every day you have your sponsored child come to your country usually it's the other way around. We couldn't wait to meet Esther."
During her three-week tour of New Zealand, a highlight was visiting Kelly Tarlton's marine centre in Auckland.