How Child Sponsorship Transforms Communities

Ending global poverty in our lifetime is possible. It starts with one child, their family, their community—and you.

Ending global poverty in our lifetime is possible. It starts with one child, their family, their community—and you.

As part of the World Vision family, you’re participating in one of the most effective, inspiring, and rewarding ways to help your sponsored child have a better life and future. You’re playing a vital role, empowering your child and their family to lift themselves out of poverty and achieve self-sufficiency. Together, we walk alongside them, investing in these four essential areas:

1. Healthy children and parents

Children and families are well nourished, protected from infection and disease, and have access to essential health services.

2. Education for better lives

Children have opportunities to learn and develop their talents, young people are equipped for the future, and families and communities support children’s education.

3. Love of God and neighbors

Children and families are growing spiritually, local churches are strengthened to demonstrate Christ’s love in practical ways, and people are living at peace with their neighbors.

4. Child protection and care

Boys and girls are safe and valued, well cared for by their families, and participating in their communities as agents of transformation

The most effective way to help a child is to strengthen the child’s entire community.

For children to reach their God-given potential, their environment must be healthy, safe, prosperous, and full of hope. That’s why your sponsorship gifts are pooled with those of other sponsors in your child’s community to help transform every level of your child’s world. This approach provides opportunities for not just one child–but their family, community, and the local and national systems that support and protect children.

Good health, education, spiritual nurture, protection – all are crucial to your child’s well-being. Your support is helping to fill in the missing pieces in your child’s community, so they can solve the puzzle of poverty. Depending on the community’s unique challenges, they may include: Food and agriculture, water, sanitation, and hygiene, education, economic development, healthcare, Christian commitment, emergency response, and child protection.

Sponsorship looks different in each community – and combines the hopes and dreams of children and their families with our expertise as we join forces with the community to improve the well-being of children, and not just sponsored children, but other vulnerable children as well.

Your individual sponsorship may end for a variety of reasons, including when your child reaches the age of independence, finishes school, or moves away from the sponsorship area. When that journey ends, a new adventure begins, as you have the opportunity to build a relationship with another child and help them not just survive, but thrive!

Sponsorship stories of transformation: See how we’re improving lives and bringing hope.

How does a sponsored child benefit from my monthly donation?

Your monthly donation is combined with the donations of other sponsors so we can provide long-term resources for lasting change in your child’s community. Your gift will help provide your sponsored child and other children in their community with the basic necessities that can help them reach their God-given potential, including access to resources like clean water, better nutrition, basic healthcare, education, spiritual nurture, and economic opportunities for his or her family, the community, and other children in need. In areas where permitted, a sponsor’s gift will also help provide a Christian education program to give children the chance to learn about Jesus and his love.

Sponsorship also assists the entire community by providing benefits like new or restored water wells, new or renovated schools and health clinics, as well as improved agricultural training. Adults may receive vocational training in areas like tailoring and carpentry or may attend classes in nutrition and hygiene.

We offer help in these areas and more–according to the needs of the community–because we believe the best way to change the life of a child is to change the community in which he or she lives.

Learn more about each of our areas of impact.

How long will I be able to sponsor the same child?

Sponsorship is a long-term commitment; however, the length of each sponsorship depends on the needs of the child and their community. Your child’s age of independence or circumstances will vary from country to country. Sponsorship may end for any of the following reasons:

1. The community has “graduated.” The goal of sponsorship is to help break the cycle of poverty so children and families can step into the future with well-founded hope. When sustainability goals are met, projects are phased out and we move on to serve children in great need in other communities. This is a time for celebration!

2. Your child becomes self-sufficient. In many cases, children are sponsored until they finish school, reach the age of independence in their community, are able to support themselves, or marry.

3. The family has moved to a different community. Occasionally, circumstances arise that mean a child must leave the sponsorship program. For example, a child’s family may move out of the community to an area where World Vision Child Sponsorship is not available.

If circumstances change and your child is no longer available for sponsorship, we’ll notify you and send you a new child in need to begin sponsoring.

How long does World Vision work in a community?

We help children, families and their communities by supporting sustainable, long-term development projects.Sustainable development work takes time—approximately 15 years. We may stay in a community for less than 15 years, or longer, depending on when the development goals we set out to achieve have been completed. However, at times we may have to leave a community or country because local conditions—often involving political issues or stability—have changed.

Because we want to ensure that children continue to flourish after we leave, our exit is planned from the start. From the very beginning of our sponsorship projects, we work with the community to build lasting systems that will enable them to maintain and build on what has been achieved so their children can continue to thrive after the World Vision project has ended.

We work with communities to establish priorities and the time it will take to achieve the goals. Addressing the root causes of poverty involves building trusting relationships, breaking mindsets, changing attitudes, and providing tools, skills, and training – all of which requires a great investment of time.

The goal of sponsorship in a community is to help break the cycle of poverty so children and families can step into the future with well-founded hope. When these goals are met, World Vision can move on to serve children with great need in other communities.

Learn more about the six different stages of a Sponsorship project.

Why doesn't World Vision just give the children or family cash?

Giving the family of the child money does not ensure responsible spending or that the community will be able to sustain itself once we’re no longer working in the area.

We believe true community development is not about providing money or even services. It lies in helping people discover their God-given potential as human beings, and working together to realize that potential. Fundamental to this is spiritual transformation that instills hope and promise for the future.

Technical help and funding in areas like health, agriculture, water resources, sanitation, nutrition, and income generation are important, but the underlying foundation of community development work is motivation and community organization — something a simple cash handout can’t provide.

Linking this development philosophy and method to sponsorship requires that children be the focus of the development effort and that the needs of each sponsored child be taken into account. It is crucial that sponsors understand that a child doesn’t receive direct cash benefits, as a welfare system would provide.

Learn more about how we work in communities.

Do sponsored children receive more help than other children living in the same community?

World Vision’s Sponsorship program is a demonstration of God’s love for all children in a community—not just those fortunate to be sponsored. The children who are registered into our Sponsorship program are the most vulnerable children in the community and are considered representatives of all children in the broader community.

Although our goal is to help all children in a community, sponsored children can significantly benefit from the personal relationship they build with their sponsors. The cards, letters, and prayers they receive from their sponsors are a great source of encouragement and help children build self-esteem and realize their self-worth in a world where poverty tells them that they don’t matter.

World Vision may occasionally provide specific support to sponsored children where the lack of these resources would serve as a barrier to their well-being and when family, community or government capacity to provide these resources is insufficient or absent. The aim in these instances is to move away from direct benefit support and move towards more sustainable and empowering development practices that would benefit all children in the community.