1. ITV Report

Woman comes face to face with sponsored child

Alexandra Knight on her recent trip to Nicaragua Photo: Alexandra Knight

A Sussex woman travelled thousands of miles to Nicaragua to meet the young girl she sponsors through a global children's charity.

Alexandra Knight, 64, set off from her home in Hove, for a first face-to-face meeting with Francis after staying in touch by letter for seven years.

Alexandra met Francis, who she sponsors through Plan UK, at her home in the mountainous Central American county.

"The whole experience was enlightening and rewarding," Alexandra said. "To have been able to visit Francis and her family in their own home, to see where they live, and to learn at first hand something of their daily lives has strengthened my connection."

Alexandra saw the hardships of life in Francis' village, where families live in clay homes with no running water.

Plan is working on agricultural projects in the area, including irrigation systems, to boost productivity and improve families' livelihoods.

Alexandra said: "I was given to take away with me two lemons, some very small and unripe mangos and a handful of seeds.

"The time had finally come to say goodbye to Francis and her family. It was an emotional farewell."

Money donated to Plan through sponsorship benefits whole families and communities, rather than individual children.

A donation of £15 a month helps provide clean water, healthcare and education in communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Sponsors receive regular updates and photographs from their sponsored child and keep in touch by writing letters back.

Plan UK has over 100,000 sponsors in the UK, generating #24 million a year, and supporting one million children worldwide.