Many names help give meaning to a person’s life. For International Day of Happiness, March 20, we’re celebrating children around the world with the name Happy!
Hear what makes some of our Happy-named staff happy, and see a fun way that you can bring a little happiness to the world today.
* * *
What’s in a name? In places like Rwanda, it can be everything.
On my first trip to Rwanda in 2007, I worked with a communicator named Didier Habamana.
Didier explained that Habamana means “gift of God.” And Didier was just that. He loved the people of his country. He’d escaped by the skin of his teeth from the genocide of 1994 and had dedicated his life to service. His favorite book: Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life. Didier’s was a life of purpose. And he knew everything about Rwanda.
As I conducted interviews throughout southern Rwanda, Didier would explain to me the meaning of people’s names. If a child was named Mukantagara, it meant that child was “born in a time of war.” “Ah,” I would think. Knowing a child’s name helped me understand his or her story immediately: This child was born during the 100 days of genocide in Rwanda. It helped me direct my questions with compassion.
I met children with so many different names in Rwanda, and as you can see in this video — their names became their possibilities.
Names are so important. My name, Kari, comes from my great-grandmother Carrie Severson, a Scandinavian mother of seven who lived in Kansas and occasionally had coffee with Wyatt Earp, famous for his gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Being given the name Kari has given me a sense of history and great confidence. If my great-grandmother could have coffee with Wyatt Earp, why can’t I have coffee with anyone — maybe even gunfighters?
It all comes down to how you feel about your name.
Which brings me to the name Happy. Happy doesn’t seem like a real name. It seems like a feeling.
But I have met so many people named Happy in my travels, reporting stories for World Vision.
Among our 45,000 staff, we have seven people named Happy. We even have a Happyness.
I wrote them, asking what makes them feel happy about working for World Vision.
Happy Halder is a finance officer for World Vision in Bangladesh. He told me he’s worked for World Vision for 20 years. Why does he feel happy? “I love working with the underprivileged,” he says. “It makes me happy. I love sponsorship.”
I worked with Kenneth Happy in Uganda. He runs our water and sanitation programs. Imagine the happiness on a child’s face the first time they taste clean, cool water from a tap near their house. Knowing the blessing he’s helping to bring children, Kenneth Happy is a happy man. His happiness comes from making lives better in Uganda.
On this International Day of Happiness — why don’t you grab some happiness for yourself? Heaven knows we need it. World Vision has set aside 43 children from all over the world who you can sponsor today. Each one is named Happy. And because child sponsorship is so much more than just a picture on a refrigerator — because it is a relationship with a child in a faraway place — this gives you the chance to write to this child, learn about this child, and learn what makes him or her happy. It’s a good bet that you’ll be happy, too. Let’s celebrate International Day of Happiness by sponsoring every Happy around the world!Together — we can bring happy back. For by making someone happy, you’ll be happy, too.
This International Day of Happiness, make a child named Happy happier! Choose your child to sponsor.