A Sheffield Cub Scout leader has made a special overseas trip – to visit a little girl she sponsors through charity Plan UK.
Mum-of-four Alison Hancock, aged 48, and her 18-year-old son Joshua travelled to the Dominican Republic in February to visit Mariana, 11, who she has sponsored since 2007.
Alison and Josh, of Thorntree Road, Thorpe Hesley, Rotherham, who are both involved in the 25th Ecclesfield Scout group, spent an emotional day with Mariana and her family during their week-long trip.
Alison said: “We travelled three hours from our resort in La Romana to the suburb of Azua, where Mariana lives with her parents and three sisters.
“We were given a tour of Mariana’s school and home which opened our eyes to the basic living conditions there.
“The school’s materials were like what we had at school 30 years ago, while the homes had outside toilets, intermittent electricity and no running water.”
During their visit, Alison and Joshua handed out pens, books and gifts to the community, donated by Alison’s colleagues at British Gas and Ecclesfield Scout group, where Joshua is an assistant Beaver Scout leader,
Alison donates £15 a month to Plan UK which helps provide clean water, healthcare and education to families like Mariana’s in communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
In return, she receives regular updates and photos from Mariana and keeps in touch by writing back.
Alison said: “Now I’ll write to her with much more understanding of her life.
“I recommend sponsors visit their child as it’s such a rewarding experience.”