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World Vision - Save a child
Our experience and review

Over the years Kathy and I had seen countless ads regarding child sponsorship programs. I had so often wanted to participate in assisting children in need in war-torn and impoverished countries. Like many people, I had heard stories that suggested that very little of sponsorship funds actually reached the children and their villages - I was discouraged.

Events in the world in recent times were really starting to play on my conscience. I have so much in comparison with so many who have so little. My partner, Kathy, and I decided to do some research into child sponsorship programs to see if the rumors were true - or if we *really* could make a difference.

Case study - World Vision

We chose World Vision as our case study and were very pleasantly surprised by what we discovered. World Vision is a lot more than just child sponsorship, but that's the area that we focused on during our research.

World Vision has offices in over 90 countries and through the organization, approximately 85 million people gain assistance annually. World Vision has around 18,000 staff. Somewhere between 75% and 85% of funds donated go directly to projects; the rest goes towards administration and fund raising costs. Administration costs are contained to a 10% maximum in any given year.

Benefits and Commitments

When you sponsor a child through World Vision, you are making a commitment. In return World Vision offers their commitments:

  • To provide a real relationship between you and each child you sponsor
  • Children sponsored will have the opportunity to be healthy in accordance with national standards and will also be able to participate in age appropriated education.
  • Working with the children's families and communities, helping them help themselves
  • The safety of children and their future.

When you participate in the program, you aren't just benefiting one child, part of your money assists the entire village. The following are some examples of project activity:

  • Health Care/Sanitation training
  • Family income improvements
  • Schooling and education
  • Vocational training
  • Clean water supply
  • Agricultural and environment management skills
  • Adequate housing
  • Community organization.

Selecting a child to sponsor

After studying the World Vision site thoroughly and learning more about the desperate situation in so many countries; we decided to sponsor. We can honestly say it was one of the better decisions in our lives. Sponsors can choose a child to sponsor or World Vision can select a child based on your wishes. It was a very hard thing to "choose" a child - the lives of these children are so desperate that we wanted to sponsor them all.

We sponsored two children, both girls. One child is from Malawi and the other from South Africa. 
In South Africa, five out of every 100 black children die in infancy, often from preventable diseases. More than half of black South African children suffer from stunted growth due to inadequate nutrition. White workers earn an average of nine times more than blacks.

As a result, millions of South Africans go without basic services, especially in rural areas. Three people in 10 lack access to a safe water source.

In Malawi, the average life expectancy is only 41 years and only a just over a third of the nations 10 million inhabitants do not have access to adequate health services and safe drinking water.

Well over 900,000 men, women and children are suffering from HIV/AIDS in Malawi. These children with HIV have done nothing to deserve this. It's truly heartbreaking, especially when we discovered that HIV passing from mother to unborn child can be prevented for just a few dollars. Educating these children who survive regarding HIV is also very important to help guarantee a brighter future for the entire country.

The progress to date

Soon after we sponsored the children, we received detailed information kits with photos and contact details. World Vision encourages contact with your sponsored child. Since the beginning of this year, we have received a couple of letters from each of the girls that are translated into English by World Vision workers. 

The girls have also drawn pictures for us, which is especially heart-warming. The photos and postcards we have sent, the girls have received. It can take couple of months for communications to get through, but this is thoroughly understandable given the situation. We have also received an updated photo of one of the girls in recent months, and we can see that she is really thriving - it's such a good feeling to *know* that our money is reaching it's destination.

Both "our" girls are currently attending school. In one photo, our sponsored child in South Africa was in her school uniform and she looked so proud! Our other girl would like to become a teacher in later life, and thanks to World Vision, she may well achieve her dream. 

Any enquiries we have about the program have always been met with friendly and thorough responses from World Vision staff. The people behind World Vision that we've been in contact with are very dedicated to their roles - it's not just a job.

Your sponsorship can and will make a difference to a child and their community. Please, if you can, consider sponsorship. In most countries your gift will be tax-deductible, and more importantly - you will be giving a child a most valuable gift - the opportunity of a decent life.

Added note from Kathy

We are the proud sponsors of two wonderful girls. I say proud because I know that the money I send each month is really making a difference in our sponsored children's lives and that of their communities. World Vision sends us regular newsletters which are not only informative but show the difference they are making in the lives of people that are not as fortunate as we are.

I never knew the effect that sponsoring a child would have on me. The letters I receive from my sponsored children lift my heart and let me know that they are okay. One of the girls' mothers thanks me for sponsoring her child and says she loves me. If only she knew what I get in return for this - you cannot put a price on that.

If you really want to make a difference in a child's life - I recommend World Vision to you! If you do end up sponsoring a child, please let us know - we'd love to hear from you!





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