Give a child a future this Christmas – and put your town on the map | ActionAid UK

Our 'Child of our City' appeal offers UK towns and cities an irreplaceable gift this Christmas – the opportunity to sponsor a child and change a life.

Farness is seven. She lives in Malawi with her mother who cannot afford to send her to school.
Farness is seven. She lives in Malawi with her mother who cannot afford to send her to school.

This Christmas we’re asking local people to step forward on behalf of their community, and sponsor some of the poorest and most vulnerable children in the world.

We’ve allocated each city and town in the UK a child in need of a sponsor – these will be publicised in local press and websites, so keep an eye out for yours.

These children come from desperately poor and often troubled countries, including Afghanistan, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo — where too many children lead lives fractured by poverty.

Whoever is first to respond, will be the ‘Child of their City’s’ sponsor. They will receive a unique insight into the child’s life and have the opportunity to form a real connection with them, and see the amazing difference their sponsorship makes not just with them, but with the community that they live in too.

Becoming a child sponsor could be the best decision you ever make

Working in ActionAid’s supporter team I’ve been speaking to our child sponsors every day for 20 years. Each one of them feels such as sense of pride and satisfaction to have made the decision to sponsor and help these children out of poverty, often ensuring they get enough to eat and have the chance to go to school. I can honestly say no one regrets their decision.

For just £15 a month, less than 50p a day, sponsorship helps bring about real, long-term change. You’ll get two letters a year from your child, and updates from the country programme to tell you how the money you are donating is changing your child’s life and community.

Why does comedian and author Mark Watson sponsor a child?

Mark Watson trip to Djilor, Senegal

Stand-up comedian and author Mark Watson got involved in child sponsorship five years ago when he became a father for the first time. He sponsors a little boy the same age as his own.

“Being a father made me care about the idea of children going hungry, or being without crucial amenities, more personally that I ever would have before.

Sponsorship is a very direct way of getting money to places where it will make a positive difference. People often feel with charities that they are pouring money into far-off places that will never solve any of its problems.

“With child sponsorship you get to see the relationship between your donations and the real improvements in a specific person’s life. It’s really rewarding, as well as being desperately needed.”

What if I’m not the first in the queue?

Don’t worry! If you’re keen to take part but you’ve missed out on the chance to sponsor the Child of your City, you can still sponsor another child with ActionAid, or even give sponsorship as a gift this Christmas.

Photos: Kate Holt/ActionAid, Des Willie/ActionAid