Child Sponsorship

A former sponsored child and decorated athlete turns heads, changes minds, and breaks stereotypes

Juan David, 22, is all smiles as he takes the podium to receive his second gold medal.

Winning isn’t new to Juan, a decorated athlete. He is the proud recipient of four Olympic medals: two gold, one silver, and one bronze.

Sure, he might not be the most decorated athlete of all time. His medal count doesn’t come close to that of Michael Phelps. And his 100-meter time doesn’t match that of Usain Bolt, the current Olympic record-holder from Jamaica.

But life isn’t just about the finish line.

To truly appreciate crossing the finish line, you must understand where the race started -- and what obstacles were faced along the way.

A sponsor's story of finding Samuel Isaac

Today's guest contributor is a child sponsor who told her inspiring story of faith as part of our "What Moves You" campaign -- a space where World Vision supporters share their reasons for joining our global efforts against poverty and injustice.

In order to protect her identity, we won't be sharing her name, but please read how her battle with infertility led her to a very special little boy named Samuel Isaac.

[Sri Lanka Bloggers] A firsthand look at sponsorship from Sri Lanka

Poverty: It's a word everyone has heard. Much of the world understands it firsthand.

Maybe you've personally experienced physical poverty at some point, with its life-depleting side effects -- lack of nutritious food, clean water, safe shelter, medical care, or education.

Or maybe poverty is a reality that feels distant to you -- something you've heard of but never experienced for yourself.

If you are in the latter category, you might have more questions than answers on the topic: What causes poverty? Why is it so complex? How does poverty affect families and communities? What can I do about it?

John Lennon: A sponsored child who imagines, too

There's one well-known John Lennon who wrote and performed a famous song about imagining. But another is a 15-year-old boy from the Philippines who imagines something of his own -- a better future and an opportunity to pursue his dream of becoming a teacher, thanks to his sponsorship through World Vision.

Change a community: Start with one child

World Vision is at work within 400 different communities in almost 100 countries. That’s where your support becomes food for people who are hungry, clean water, education to give children a better future, and care for the sick.

What you see when you visit these places is love in action. You see the manifestation of the love that sponsors have for people they’ve never met. You see it among World Vision staff serving those whom society has brushed aside.

While it might not be possible for you to travel to where your sponsored child is, we want to paint a picture of life within his or her community. It’s important to us that you know how your support is impacting the community and your sponsored child.

So each year, right around this time, World Vision sends out Community News. Look for it in your mailbox or email, or log in to myworldvision.org to see it. It's filled with updates on your sponsored child's community -- and how your support is uniquely impacting it.

From heartbreak to joy

“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”

As a World Vision employee, I’ve grown quite familiar with the poignant prayer that our founder, Dr. Bob Pierce, scrawled in the margins of his Bible many years ago.

But on a busy afternoon last fall, as I sat at my desk in the World Vision U.S. headquarters, my heart was far from broken.

It was elated.

Surrounded by my coworkers, a giant bouquet of balloons, and even a photographer, I had received the surprise of a lifetime: My name had been selected in a drawing for a trip to see sponsorship in action! I had earned entries by recruiting friends and family members to become sponsors, and would soon be traveling to the nation of Ecuador to get an up-close look at World Vision’s work in the field.

PHOTOS: A new chapter for Amri Karbi, India

After 15 fruitful years, World Vision's work is coming to a close in the Amri Karbi region of India's Assam state.

Some 2,300 children have been sponsored in the area, and significant improvements have been made in education, economic development, infrastructure, and healthcare. World Vision sponsorship funds have bought books and furniture for classrooms, while helping parents pay for their children's school fees and uniforms. Women have been provided with training in entrepreneurship, as well as funds for start-up business efforts. A new chapter is beginning for the Amri Karbi region as the cycle of poverty is broken.

World Vision photographer Jon Warren gives us a glimpse of life there through the images below. Read the full story in World Vision magazine.

Helping my homeland: Why I sponsor a child in India

Aparna Sen, a World Vision sponsor, shares how her experience as a child growing up in Calcutta shaped her desire to help girls in India get an education and avoid discrimination and early marriage.

Recently, Aparna and her husband, Ritwick Dhar, had the opportunity to travel to India to meet 12-year-old Rebika, whom Aparna sponsored after becoming acquainted with World Vision and our work in her native country.

New MyWorldVision site: Tell us what you think!

Sponsoring a child and keeping in touch with them is a real joy. But until recently, sending letters or emails, changing giving records, and tracking project updates meant visiting several parts of our web site, calling us, or sifting through World Vision mailings.

A story of two Sams

Heather Althoff's family sponsors a Ugandan boy named Sam. Below, Heather shares her story of meeting Sam and his family. Wondering how sponsoring a child can bless your life and perspective just as profoundly as it does the life of the child you help? Here's a story for you.

A story of rooftops and buttercups

Members of Carter's Chord, a World Vision Artist Associate, recently traveled to the Dominican Republic to record the music video "Love a Little Bigger," shown above, and to meet their sponsored child, Franyely, who shares a tiny space on a rooftop with her father and brother. The three musicians got a firsthand look at the challenges faced by the family -- and how World Vision's presence in their community has created a reason for hope.

David’s bright idea

Do you give money to beggars? I can think of plenty of reasons why such giving is not a good idea. Then, I’ll see some destitute woman shivering in the cold, and I’ll feel compelled to press a few dollars in her hand.

Investing in the present -- and future

Back from her recent trip to Romania to cover the brutal cold and snow that buried much of Eastern Europe, leaving many families struggling to survive, World Vision's Laura Reinhardt shares a story of how World Vision sponsorship in a small community is helping to break the cycle of poverty and social stigma.

Freedom from poverty: The key to life in all its fullness

This past August, I had the honor, for the first time, of visiting World Vision's field programs in Guatemala. This Latin American country is a gorgeous place -- a lush, beautiful landscape, and equally beautiful people.

In stark contrast to such beauty, however, is the presence of poverty across much of the country. Malnutrition is a major problem here -- 45 percent of Guatemala's population is stunted. Particularly in rural areas, families struggle with limited access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities.

But poverty does not define the people of Guatemala. Nor, as I discovered, does it undermine their ability to find joy and hope. And World Vision is working to help families and communities overcome it -- for good.

PHOTO BLOG: Child sponsorship reaches parents, too

Children, children, children. Everything we do at World Vision is for children. But when I visited a sponsorship area in northeast India earlier this month, program staff first wanted to show me the work they were doing with parents. They believed the most effective way to make a difference in the lives of children was to care about the whole family, improve parents’ livelihoods, and involve the entire community in long-term problem-solving.

As a parent myself, this made complete sense. My life centers around my kids. Make my earning more secure, and I’m better able to care for my family. Improve community structure, and everyone benefits. So I was first shown fish ponds and weaving groups, rubber trees, and orange groves. Making life better for children is our top priority at World Vision. Often that means focusing on the parents, too.

Photo stories from Swaziland

World Vision photographer Abby Stalsbroten traveled last week to Swaziland with a group of pastors from Austin, Texas, to look at the impact of sponsorship on children in rural communities. The country has a 24-percent HIV infection rate, but World Vision is working to feed and care for thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children across the country. Here are some of Abby's favorite pictures from the past week in the field.

Meeting Doctor

Some of my new year resolutions are personal -- like finishing grad school and running another half marathon. But my resolution to keep sponsoring children through the organization I love gives me an outward focus.

[caption id="attachment_11493" align="alignright" width="158" caption="My first photo of Doctor when I became his sponsor in 2004."]Meeting Doctor | World Vision Blog[/caption]

Nearly eight years ago, before I started working here, I sponsored a child through World Vision. It didn't matter whether the child was a boy or a girl, or from any particular country. I just wanted to help a child who needed a sponsor.