When Linda Poznansky wanted to commit to being a long-term supporter of CCF, she chose to sponsor one of our grannies

Family is very important to Linda Poznansky.
She grew up in the Northern suburbs of Chicago, U.S, married her high school sweetheart and most of the family still live in the area. Linda has two children, a son, 35, and a daughter, 38, and two grandchildren, aged four and one.

Now Linda has become part of the CCF family after recently becoming a sponsor for one of the grannies living in the community where CCF works.

Linda was introduced to CCF, which works in some of the most impoverished communities in Cambodia centred around the former municipal landfill site in Phnom Penh, through her son, Mike, who met CCF founder, Scott Neeson, at an event.

Inspired, Mike took a trip to Cambodia and spent some time in Phnom Penh and visiting CCF, seeing first-hand how the people of Steung Meanchey live.

“At that time, he learned of CCF’s efforts to help these people learn to rise from poverty and he discovered the opportunities that CCF offers so that they can receive an education,” says Linda.
“Mike sent us some texts that included pictures of the area and the people who live there and this opened our eyes to the impoverished conditions that exist in the area.”

Moved by the images and stories of the children and families, Linda felt a strong sense of wanting to do more and looked at CCF’s Sponsorship Program, which offers the chance to support and become involved in the life of a child or granny.

Linda was drawn to sponsoring a granny – many of whom have endured a difficult life of loss and hardship – which provides them with love and care within a supportive environment, and she quotes a Welsh proverb to explain why.

“The proverb says, ‘Perfect love sometimes does not come ‘til the first grandchild’,” says Linda. “ There is a new understanding of unconditional love when you become a grandmother. A grandmother knows how to listen and when to give advice. She knows the importance of praise, patience and gentleness and most of all, a grandmother has the opportunity to be a guiding light for multiple generations.”

CCF’s grannies have become central figures in the communities, helping with childcare (some have become foster parents to CCF children), mentoring older students and passing on Khmer customs and traditions to the next generation.

In return, CCF offers the grannies (and grandpas) opportunities to enjoy some of the things they missed out on in their youth, including adult literacy classes and trips to culturally important places in Cambodia such as Angkor Wat temple complex.

Linda chose to support Granny Thany, a colourful character and sprightly 70-something who is the official hairdresser in her CCF community.

“It wasn’t her smile or her stature. I chose Granny Thany because the lines in her face tell a story,” says Linda. “After reading about all of the obstacles that she has overcome throughout her childhood and adult life, her story is immeasurable. Granny Thany teaches us that no matter what we have endured, courage, strength and generosity are obtainable.”

And while almost 14,000km separates them and their lives appear to be so different, Linda feels the two women share similar experiences and traits.

“Granny Thany and I have many parallels. With age comes experience and although my life events weren’t nearly as difficult as Granny Thany’s, we are both aware of the influence that we can have on younger generations, as well as our own.
“We both like to learn and to teach which means that we understand the value of listening, the importance of encouragement and the significance of education.”

Linda hopes that through her support, she can give Granny Thany the chance to have ample food to eat, clothes to keep her warm and a roof over her head.
“Also, I hope that my gift helps give Granny Thany an opportunity to flourish.”

But it’s not just one way. Linda is keen to stress that she will get as much out of the sponsorship as Granny Thany, only in a different way.

“We are all caught up in our own little worlds. We spend our time thinking about our own needs and we are besieged with ads that tell us what we can’t live without,” she explains.
“When you see the people of Steung Meanchey, you get a true understanding of what it means to live without. This harsh reality changes our world from, ‘What can I have’ to ‘How can I help?’
“This is a small measure to let others know that we are all on this planet not to get, but to give.”

Her message to anyone who is considering to become a CCF sponsor of either a child or granny or grandpa is to consider what a difference it could make not just for the individual but the ripple effect that spreads out from the act of giving.

“In the U.S, we live in a disposable nation. For the cost of what you might spend on entertainment each month, know that with a monthly donation, you change a life and give the gift of hope to many generations to come,” she says.

Linda now has a wish of her own – to visit Cambodia for the first time and see for herself (as her son, Mike, did) how CCF is changing lives and how her sponsorship is helping this.

“My hope is that I can accompany Mike on one of his trips,” she says. “This will give me the opportunity to give Granny Thany a huge hug and to tell her face-to-face that she is my hero.”

To find out more about sponsoring a CCF granny or child, click here

Kate Ginn/CCF

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