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No one should start a full-time job at age 8. But Atnafu had no choice.
"Feeding the rest of the family was a burden for my mother," recalls Atnafu. "I [knew I] had to become a salaried shepherd."
Atnafu's widowed mother, Yezina, feared her children would die of starvation. Without oxen to till the soil, Yezina's two acres of land were almost useless. She had already hired Atnafu's older brothers, ages 12 and 10, to neighboring farmers in their Ethiopian community.
But World Vision learned of the family's situation. Atnafu was enrolled in the sponsorship program, and his family received a milk cow, six sheep, and six chickens.
This miraculous intervention changed the family's life. Atnafu's older brothers have returned home. And these days, after the children have had their fill of nutritious milk, there is enough left over to bring in an extra $8 a month.
"This is a big income for me," exclaims Yezina happily. "It helps me to buy food for my children."
Yezina is also earning money by selling extra eggs — and her herd of sheep is growing, too. Once she's saved a little more, she plans to buy oxen and start farming her land.
On top of all this, sponsorship provides Atnafu with clothes and writing materials so he can go to school.
"World Vision is like a father for me," he says with delight. "It set me free from the worry of being a shepherd and helped me attend school."
For about $1 a day, you can make a real difference in the life of a child like Atnafu. Your sponsorship gifts will provide access to the most basic necessities -- things like nutritious food, education, clean water, health care, and economic opportunities for caregivers.
Change a life. Sponsor a child today. Visitwww.worldvision.org/helpachild.