A few months back, my Aunt Jan told me about this documentary and I put it in my Netflix queue. Since then, I’d forgotten about it until it arrived last week. A Small Act tells the true story of a Kenyan man named Chris and the woman in Sweden, Hilde, who sponsored his education through a sponsorship program. As a result of Hilde’s small act many years ago, Chris decides to start a sponsorship program in her name to assist other bright children from needy families. The film is beautifully shot and the stories of Kimani, Ruth and Caroline, three hopeful students vying for the scholarship, is told against the backdrop of the election violence that took place in Kenya in 2007 and 2008.
In so many ways Chris’ story reminds me of my dear friend, Irene Wairimu. Like Chris, Irene came from a needy family in the same area and relied upon well wishers and sponsors to pay for her education through high school. Like Chris, Irene has taken this one step further and has dedicated her life to helping needy Kenyans through VICDA. Time and time again, Irene has told me, “Jenni, education is the only way to break the cycle of poverty in these villages. Without education no one can move forward and the desperation continues.” When she first moved to Nairobi and worked as a house girl Irene would set aside a portion of her very small income and sponsor the education of her siblings and members of her community in Central Provence. As Hilde points out in the film, she didn’t have much but it just felt normal to donate what she had to a child.
I highly recommend this film to anyone who is or ever has sponsored a child. Education is so important, especially in developing countries, and sponsoring a child really is a small act that can have an enormous influence on their life. If you are looking for a child to sponsor, I recommend checking out VICDA’s Child Sponsorship page.