From the Field

What children around the world say brings them joy

Friendship brings joy to four boys in Zimbabwe

The Bible is full of references to joy.

In Luke 2, Jesus’ birth was proclaimed as good news of great joy.

Before that, the prophets spoke of joy. My favorite is Isaiah 55:12 — “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

Mother Teresa said, “A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love.”

Joyful children have hearts that burn with love. Their pure pleasure in the smallest of things, that sudden burst of happiness, fills us with delight, too.

We asked children all over the world, “What is joy to you?”

Here is what they said. —Jon Warren

Haitian girls in school uniforms and blue hair bows laugh and clap in joy.


For 9-year-old Louisina, 13-year-old Sophie, and 11-year-old Jilienne, joy is being back at school. “We are so happy to see our school rebuilt,” one girl shares. On August 14, 2021, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Haiti caused widespread destruction affecting 800,000 people. World Vision responded immediately with life-saving food, clean water, and shelter, and helped support families through health, education, and child protection. Communities were equipped to repair infrastructure like the girls’ school. (©2022 World Vision/photo by Guy F. Vital-Herne)


Ghanian boys in red shirts jump in the middle of the road with makeshift capes tied around their waists and extending behind them.


Brothers Godwin, 8, and Kofi, 12, get airborne through a local game called bonke. “Joy is bonke after COVID. No more stay[ing] home,” says Kofi. Their mother, a local farmer, has also felt a lift — out of poverty, that is! She’s been empowered through VisionFund, the microfinance subsidiary of World Vision, which equips rural entrepreneurs with small loans that unlock the growth potential of their small businesses. (©2022 World Vision/photo by Abban Enoch Johnson)


A boy in a red shirt sits on the ground with a World Vision staff person next to him. A woman looks on behind him.

El Salvador

“Joy is playing with the ball,” says Wilbur, who uses a wheelchair. He rolls the ball again and again, knocking down colorful pins while his mother observes in the background. On this day, Wilbur scores double — happily hitting plastic pins one by one and getting ready to go into the white tents where he’ll pick his World Vision sponsor through World Vision’s Chosen® program. (©2022 World Vision/photo by Abner Ely Castillo Castillo)


Ugandan boys wearing purple shorts and orange shirts hoist a boy up into the air in triumph as they play soccer in a green yard.


“My joy is playing soccer with my friends. … It’s my best part of the day,” shares 10-year-old Timothy. He and his friends are elated after Timothy scores a penalty kick during a lunchtime soccer match. (©2022 World Vision/photo by Clive Inyhensico)


A man smiles standing with two young boys; the children hold goats with other goats in pens behind them.


For this family, joy is the animals that have transformed their lives. Ngwar Tar, 62, and his grandchildren, Ngwar Lay, 5, and Nwgar Sar, 3, enjoy laughing and caring for the goats they received from World Vision. “Every day, we wait for our grandfather to go to the goat farm, and then we accompany him,” says Ngwar Lay. “When we arrive, we cuddle and feed the goats. We really like playing with them. They are not afraid of us, and they also love us.” (©2022 World Vision/photo by Saw Moo Kale)


A young Honduran girl sits smiling while holding a yellow pencil and writing in a notebook.


“Joy is learning how to write the number eight while singing songs to God,” says Dulce María, a 6-year-old sponsored child. (©2022 World Vision/photo by Catherine Turcios)


A Ghanian woman in a red dress and two girls stand next to a yellow taxi van smiling.


“Joy is standing in the shadow of mama — I know we are safe,” say 10-year-old Precious and 13-year-old Martha. Their mother, Madam Ama Cynthia, has benefited from a VisionFund loan through World Vision, allowing her to buy the taxi they stand next to. (©2022 World Vision/photo by Abban Enoch Johnson)


A Somali boy wearing jeans and a black shirt stands outside a brick and mud home smiling while holding a newborn goat.


“Our animals bring me joy! The sound made by our goats makes me so happy because it means they’re there. We get our meat and milk from them, and when they’re not there (because of drought), we’re not happy. This one is a new one, 7 days old,” says 5-year-old Abdirahman. (©2022 World Vision/photo by Gwayi Patrick)


Two Ugandan girls wearing brightly colored shirts smile and laugh as they look at a paper with alphabet letters on it.


“Joy is reading together and making fun,” says 7-year-olds Patricia, left, and Lillian, right. (©2022 World Vision/photo by Fred Ouma)


A boy in a T-shirt and shorts runs between rows of plants in a field under a cloudy sky.

El Salvador

“Joy is running through the cornfield,” says Elmer, a sponsored child. He loves running after school. In his area, many families have struggled with their crops due to both droughts and floods. Elmer’s family and others have benefited from World Vision’s food security programs, which have helped them have enough food to eat — and even have surplus to sell for profit. (©2022 World Vision/photo by Abner Ely Castillo Castillo)


Three Ghanian teenage girls jump in a lush green field while smiling and concentrating on a game.


“Joy is playing ampe on Saturday morning in the farm under the bright sky,” say sisters Theresa (left), 11, Charlotte (middle), 12, and Cynthia (right), 13. The girls love playing this local game. They have a chance to be kids as their mom is leaving poverty behind thanks to a farming loan from VisionFund, World Vision’s microfinance arm. (©2022 World Vision/photo by Abban Enoch Johnson)

Child Sponsorship

View All Stories
Five children smile in a field in Zambia.
Change Makers

How does child sponsorship build better futures?

Portrait of a smiling girl on a bike wearing a white shirt, black skirt, and red backpack. There are trees behind her.
From the Field

Child sponsorship and letters inspire a girl in Cambodia

Latin America/Caribbean

View All Stories
A smiling boy wearing a school uniform sits in a wheelchair.

Matthew 25: Prayer for children with disabilities

A young girl looks over her mother’s shoulder and into the camera.
From the Field

Haiti crisis: Facts, FAQs, and how to help