Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sponsoring a Child

So you've thought about it and you'd like to sponsor a child.  The initial process can seem overwhelming.  Do you want to sponsor a girl or a boy... or does it even matter to you?  Which country do you want your sponsored child to be from?  Do you want to sponsor a baby, child, or teenager?  What organization will you use?  All of these decisions can be nerve-wracking to make.

Lavin.JPGFirst of all, be excited about your decision!  Sponsoring a child is a huge blessing.  I have yet to meet anyone who has not enjoyed receiving letters and photographs from their sponsored child.

However, before you sign up for sponsorship, remember that sponsoring a child is a big commitment.  Make sure that you're ready to take on the financial responsibility so your child won't have to lose his sponsor.  When you agree to sponsor a child, you're making a commitment not only to a humanitarian organization, but to that individual child.  You don't want to put a child's faith in you and have to back out after a few months.

Let me tell you about my experience as a child sponsor.  I can afford to sponsor one child right now with the money I earn.  Her name is Lavin, and she lives in Kenya, Africa.  She's currently thirteen years old.  I was given the opportunity to meet Lavin in person when I traveled to Kenya, Africa with a group from my church.  Sponsoring Lavin has been a huge blessing in my life.  She has such a sweet spirit and I absolutely love to receive letters and drawings from her.  I sponsor Lavin through an organization called Christian Relief Fund.

If you're ready to commit to being a child sponsor, I'd like to give you some pros and cons from a few different humanitarian organizations.

Compassion International
Compassion International is probably the most well-known Christian humanitarian organization that offers child sponsorship.  Compassion is currently helping over a million children in twenty-six different countries.  Compassion focuses specifically on providing aid for children.
Pros: If you choose to sponsor a child with Compassion, you'll have a vast selection of children to choose from.  Compassion is widely-used and supported by many famous bands and magazines.  Compassion also provides opportunities for you to visit your sponsored child.
Cons: Compassion's size is also its biggest flaw.  Compassion isn't as personal as some sponsorship programs are, so you may have difficulty communicating regularly with your child or going out of your way to provide extra blessings for your child's family.  Compassion does not always communicate with sponsors as well as smaller, more personal organizations.

World Vision
World Vision is another large Christian humanitarian organization.  Something neat about World Vision is that it partners with actual natives of each country and focuses on building communities.  World Vision is helping over 100 million people in 100 different countries.  My family sponsored a child through World Vision until she graduated from the program last year.
Pros: When you sponsor a child, you may be receiving information about that individual child, but your sponsorship will be helping the child's entire community.  World Vision provides many jobs and resources for communities.  The organization does not leave a community until it is self-sufficient.  World Vision sends regular yearly updates about each sponsored child.
Cons: The biggest issue I had with World Vision was its lack of providing a very personal relationship between a sponsor and the child.  I didn't receive personal letters from my child, but instead would receive question-and-answer surveys.  World Vision encouraged my family to sign our names on World Vision Christmas cards and calendars rather than write personal letters.

   
Christian Relief Fund
Christian Relief Fund is a smaller, less known Christian humanitarian organization, but its smaller size is one of its charms.  CRF is offering aid in thirty-three different countries.
Pros: CRF focuses on helping families and communities along with children.  It uses micro-finance loans to assist struggling families.  It provides aid to orphaned children.  It also focuses on providing schools, churches, medical care, and nourishment to communities.  CRF's small size helps it to be very personal with sponsors and children, allowing sponsors to go out of their way to bless a child's family.  CRF encourages sponsors to write frequently and send personal letters to their sponsored child.  It also provides hand-written letters from each child.  Not only can you sponsor a child through CRF, but you can also sponsor an entire family or even a school!
Cons: Because CRF is so small, you don't have such a wide range of children to choose from like you do with bigger organizations.  At times, it can take nearly a year to receive any information from your child, but at other times, you might receive an update every couple of months, depending on the reliability of your sponsored child's school.

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There are other humanitarian organizations that offer the opportunity to sponsor children.  I'll go ahead and list a few below, although I won't give pros and cons about each organization because I don't have any personal experience with them.

Child Fund International - CFI helps more than 15 million children in thirty-one different countries through sponsorship.  They focus on providing sponsorship for a child from birth to adulthood.  They work with a child's community to create an environment where growing children can thrive.

PlanUSA - PlanUSA provides sponsorship for 1,500,000 children from forty-eight different countries.  They focus on creating communities that emphasize each child's rights and dignity.  They strive to provide basic needs and strong relationships within each child's community.

Save the Children - STC strives to teach families how to help themselves.  They work with governments and community leaders to provide safe living environments for children.  They also focus on providing immediate relief to scenes of disaster and conflict.  Save the Children is not affiliated with any religion.

The Rafiki Foundation - The Rafiki Foundation is focused on African widows and children.  They create Rafiki Training Villages in ten different countries in Africa.  The villages provide living, educational, and medical facilities to poverty-stricken widows and children.  The Rafiki Foundation has given homes to more than 200 orphaned children.

Christian Aid - Through Christian Aid, you can sponsor a missionary who is serving in a foreign country.  Your sponsorship will provide means for a missionary to share Christ's love with the world.  Christian Aid has provided assistance to more than 800 missionaries in 122 different countries.

Reece's Rainbow
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Reece's Rainbow is an organization focused on providing adoptive families for orphaned and abandoned children who suffer from Down's Syndrome and other disabilities.  They have found adoptive families for more than 350 disabled children.  You can donate specifically to a child's adoption fund, which will help provide prospective parents with the means to continue with the expensive adoption process.  You can also become a child's Prayer Warrior.  You will receive a photograph of the child and a bookmark to keep in your Bible, and without having to send money, you can commit to praying for the child every day until he or she is adopted.

SOS Children's Villages - SOS is currently providing homes for more than 80,000 orphaned children in 500 villages and 132 different countries.  SOS takes a unique approach, giving an orphaned child an SOS mother and fifteen SOS brothers and sisters within an SOS Village of similar "homes."  SOS strives to create strong family relationships in each child's life.  Sponsors are providing a child with a place inside a SOS Village, where they will receive a loving family, education, medical care, clothing, and food.

Christian Foundation for Children and Aging - CFCA is helping more than 300,000 people in 23 different countries.  They uniquely allow you to sponsor either a child, youth, or an elderly person.  You can sponsor a child or a youth and support them as they grow up, like you can with many humanitarian organizations.  However, you can also sponsor an elderly person and help them live out their remaining years with dignity and care.

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I hope this article helped you.  By reading facts and information about various organizations, perhaps you were able to find the one that fits exactly what you are looking for.  Sponsorship is a wonderful blessing for the life of the child, but it will be a blessing for your life as well.

Do you already sponsor a child?  Have you sponsored one in the past?  What organization have you used?


 

3 comments:

  1. This was extremely helpful, thank you so much! I'm not in a place financially as of now where I could sponsor a child for a solid period of time, but it's definitely something I'm working toward. Thank you very much. (:

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  2. Kyaruzi Henry DurantDecember 30, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    Dear Beloved Sponsors,
    My Name is Henry Dunant Kyaruzi and I leave here in Tanzania in a village called Kyazi.
    I have written this Request to inform you that i have got a project here in our village that is trying to assist orphans due to the increasing number of deaths of their parents. Am not capable of running this project due to the fact that the support that we were getting was from individuals from urban areas but currently its like the project is collupsing due to the increasing number of orphans and less supply of basic needs due to lack of support from any organization.
    Here in Tanzania we have got small NGo's assisting children. And that’s why am calling your attention please to at least lend a hand in our project please . Am going to try my level best please to send our project proposal so that you can have a look on our aims.
    English here in Tanzania is not as wel nice due to poor Education but please i request you kindly and humbly to reply my call,
    Yours faithfully
    Henry Dunant Kyaruzi
    Kyazi Children Development Project
    Tanzania

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! Thanks so much for this article. I think it's a great idea to get the word out there and help people with such a huge decision.

    I've never heard of Reece's Rainbow, or CFCA, but I think it's really cool that you can sponsor an elderly person, or help a disabled child be adopted. I also think it's great that you can simply PRAY for kids in need through Reece's Rainbow. I mean, I guess you could do that anyways, but it's cool to be able to do it by name.

    I'm currently sponsoring a child through Plan Canada, and have been her official sponsor as of one month. A few months earlier, when I saw that I was financially able to be a sponsor, I had my mind set. We frequently receive letters in the mail from different organizations similar to the ones you listed above, so I simply waited for the first one that came in the mail. The first to come arrived almost 2 months ago. It was from Plan Canada. I filled out the forms, and sent them back as soon as I could!

    I am now sponsoring a 14-year-old girl by the name of Leocadie, who's only a year younger than I am! When Plan sends you the letter telling you who your sponsoring, they also give you a piece of stationary, so you can start sending your child letters as soon as possible! I am so excited, ad very happy.

    For anyone reading this, I encourage you to pray, and make the decision on whether or not you want to sponsor a child. I feel as if I've already been greatly blessed, in only the month I've been a sponsor.

    Thanks again for this!

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