St Albans sponsor's mission to Uganda is Immaculate experience

PUBLISHED: 15:16 20 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 06 May 2010

Linda presents a photo album to seven-year-old Immaculate

Linda presents a photo album to seven-year-old Immaculate

AN INTREPID traveller has just returned from an emotional journey deep into one of the most poverty-stricken parts of Africa. Linda Whyte, 32, from Marshalswick, St Albans, went to Uganda to meet a seven-year-old girl called Immaculate, whom she sponsors

AN INTREPID traveller has just returned from an emotional journey deep into one of the most poverty-stricken parts of Africa.

Linda Whyte, 32, from Marshalswick, St Albans, went to Uganda to meet a seven-year-old girl called Immaculate, whom she sponsors through children's charity Plan UK.

Linda said: "The welcome was extraordinary from a community which has so little. Immaculate's grandmother stepped out and hugged me and the welcome was amazing.

"There was a sea of children and I eventually spotted Immaculate among them. She was a lot smaller than I had thought, but I recognised her."

Linda, who has kept in touch with Immaculate by letter over the last five years, was shown around her village before settling down for a chat with her grandmother.

She continued: "Immaculate was very shy at first but then she took my hand and started smiling. She was fascinated by my hair and everyone started touching it and stroking it."

Linda was then given a tour of some of the Plan-funded projects in Immaculate's community, which includes a health clinic.

She said: "The centre was basic but obviously benefitted the community. The children there were all very well behaved and waited their turn as I handed out a few small gifts. It was very rewarding to see where sponsorship money is going and it was overwhelming to see this little girl who I had been exchanging letters with. It made it so much more real and has really brought my sponsorship to life. I'd definitely go back in a few years to see her again when she is a little older."

Money donated to Plan through sponsorship funds projects for the benefit of whole communities rather than individual children. One in seven children in the country die before reaching the age of five and more than a third suffer stunted growth due to poor nutrition. Nearly two thirds of people do not have access to adequate sanitation.

For more information about the charity visit www.plan-uk.org

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