Pailyn E. Tan, Sponsorship Assistant
South Central Mindanao Program Office, Philippines
September 12, 2013
It all began with her first letter to her sponsor. Gazelle, with a few crayons she borrowed from a classmate, drew a simple picture on the back of her stationery and carefully handed it to a Save the Children staff member. In school, she didn’t draw or participate much in art classes because she felt she was not as good as her classmates who excel in drawing. “They were so good and I was not, I think,” she recalled.
“You are such a good artist. I hope you will send me more of your drawings,” the letter said. Gazelle kept that letter for days before she finally replied. “I thought of what to draw for her. I wanted it to be special. It made me happy that she liked my work, so I wanted her to like my drawings more.”
When the next letter came, she got more words of appreciation and encouragement. The letter said her sponsor, Sandy, had put Gazelle’s drawing in a frame and displayed it in her house. That made Gazellle so happy – her sponsor was the first person to appreciate her work. She brought the letter home and kept in under her pillow. Then, her mother found the letter and asked her about the drawings. “My parents didn’t know that I can draw. And besides I didn’t own crayons. Our money then was just enough for our basic needs,” Gazelle says.
To win a most coveted art set and continue to draw for her friend from a faraway land, Gazelle bravely joined a drawing competition in her school, which was hosted by Save the Children. Her teachers and schoolmates eyed her with scepticism on competition day because they thought she couldn’t possibly win. But armed with determination, inspired by her sponsor’s encouraging words – and the desire for that art set – she shrugged off their stares, and she won!
“My first thought when I opened the pink box was that I could draw more beautiful pictures for Sandy,” she smiled. And that’s what she did. The first time she used her set was to draw pictures for her sponsor. For two years now, she has been drawing wonderful pictures. Sandy’s letters, telling her that she enjoys her drawings, never fail to make Gazelle happy. “Her words encourage me to improve my skills,” she smiles. “I give back by drawing beautiful pictures for her.”