Helping Children in Need Through Sponsorship
Around the world, approximately one billion children are living in poverty and lack access to necessities like adequate food, shelter and clean water. It is estimated that 150 million more children now experience poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Living in poverty increases the risk of death and disease because of poor living standards.
Natural disasters tend to capture our attention and compel us to contribute to relief funds. However, even when the world’s attention is not focused because of a disaster, squalid conditions for the world’s most vulnerable children and families persist. So, often, poverty is a stagnant state, depriving generations of children of healthy lives and opportunities. The childhood sponsorship model was created as a means to provide consistent support that directly benefits individual children and their families.
Childhood sponsorship combats poverty and its effects through monthly, quarterly or annual contributions to children in poverty-stricken communities. These sponsorship programs often support not just an individual sponsored child, but also entire families by providing resources for basic needs including food, water, hygiene products and access to healthcare.
The sponsorship model takes different forms:
- Community projects. Community projects gather funds from individual sponsorship to support projects that impact communities as a whole, including schools or hospitals.
- Direct support. Direct support programs connect donors with the individual children to provide funds for their immediate needs.
- Third-party support. Some organizations use the funds from child sponsorship to support third-party groups that are making a difference in the community.
Childhood sponsorship provides more than physical support for children and their families. Supporting individuals from a young age creates ripples in communities that lead to lasting change and hope. Sponsorship provides money for critical needs while also communicating to needy children and families that they are important and their well-being matters. In this way, sponsorship creates life-long global relationships.
Over the years, the child sponsorship selection process has evolved. Traditionally, sponsors would pick a child from a group of photos on the organization website, which could result in some children not being selected. Organizations, including child sponsorship organization World Vision, flipped that model so the children are now empowered to choose a sponsor.
Another of the positive effects of childhood sponsorship is the opportunity for sponsors to see what life is like in other parts of the world. This was exactly the experience for Mehridith and Jon Venverloh, who began sponsoring several children through Compassion International as newlyweds. Through their sponsorships, the Venverlohs were exposed to the living conditions and needs of children in other parts of the world and were able to witness the tangible impacts of their sponsorships on individuals and communities. After Jon Venverloh established the Venverloh Family Foundation, he expanded the family’s partnership with the organization.
According to Compassion International, which facilitates the sponsorship of more than 1.9 million children around the world, “When children find out they’ve been sponsored, the joy they feel is indescribable. Just knowing that someone across the globe cares means more than you can imagine. Sponsoring a child in need will profoundly change the future for your child, and will change your own life as well.”