Child sponsorship is the provision of financial aid to children from underdeveloped and developing countries, as well as low-income areas of one’s own country. This financial aid includes sponsorship of a child’s food, clothing, and education. It also includes support for the community in which the child lives (in terms of utilities, healthcare, education etc.); and for initiatives that aim to reduce the child’s risk of diseases like malaria, diarrhoea, tuberculosis, pneumonia, HIV etc. that they become predisposed to as a result of living in poverty. The practice of child sponsorship has had its fair share of controversy. Questions have been raised about the financial practices of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that run sponsorship programs – particularly with regards to the proportion of sponsorship money that actually makes its way to the child or community in need. While these are valid concerns, it should not deter you from sponsoring a child in need through a legitimate and trusted NGO.
Recommended Read: Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Read on to learn how child sponsorship can not only benefit the needy child but also enrich the lives of the sponsor:
A Personal Connect
Child sponsorship personalizes the donation process. By sponsoring an individual child, you feel you have made a tangible positive difference to someone’s life, as well as their community – as compared to when you simply make a donation to a nameless, faceless group of people.
The personal aspect of child sponsorship also has the potential to forge a lasting bond between the child in need and the sponsor. It may lead to a long-term commitment on the sponsor’s part to the child, as opposed to a one-time donation. Moreover, as opposed to a donation, which can be a purely financial act, sponsorship also involves communication between the child and the sponsor – which adds a greater emotional dimension to this act of charity.
Upon becoming a sponsor, you get an opportunity to be exposed to an entirely different culture and way of life. The program opens a window for you into the world that lies outside the ‘bubble’ of your daily life.
If you do plan to sponsor a child in need, be sure to verify the credentials of the NGO running the sponsorship program you opt for. Try to opt for an NGO that ensures that there will be as direct a link between you and the child you are sponsoring as possible. Also, try to make sure that the money you are providing the child passes through as few hands as possible. Ideally, the NGO should be able to explain to you precisely how your money will be benefiting the child in need and his/her community.
As long as you take the aforementioned precautions, you should not hesitate to become a sponsor. It will change a child’s life, as well as your own, for the better!