ActionAid child sponsorship is a lifeline to communities we support around the world. To celebrate the generosity and commitment of our supporters, we asked some of our sponsors and local staff what child sponsorship means to them. Their responses were pretty amazing, and just go to show how sponsorship is one of the loveliest ways to enter into the spirit of giving and make a difference this Christmas.
Growing up with a conscience
Lots of our supporters sponsor a child for their children, as a personal and meaningful way of teaching them about poverty in other countries.
Vicky Clarke sponsors a child in Nepal for her daughter.
@ActionAidUK Love, humility and Perspective— vicky clarke (@honeyclarke2010) November 22, 2016
Vicky told us:
My five-year-old daughter, Honey, has been the proud penfriend to four-year-old Ritik in Nepal for two years – growing up with a conscience!
Our India child sponsorship coordinator, Rashmi Shetty, says:
You have a big heart and I wish there were more children like you in this world. The world would be a better place.
For many parents sponsorship is fun and interactive way of helping their children appreciate what they have and learn to care for others.
Maclina Kasunga, child sponsorship manager in Tanzania, says:
This is great as many children might not be able to feel and do what these children are doing. I would like to thank the parents for this kind of heart mentoring because it is thanks to them that their children are interested in helping other children in need around the world.
Helping a whole community
For other supoporters, like Cath Taylor, the fact that sponsorship supports the whole community is very important.
Sponsors have the chance to build a unique relationship with their child, which is really valued.
Bridget Musa, head of sponsorship in Sierra Leone says:
Child sponsorship makes sponsored children happy, honoured and gives a sense of belonging to something they love and appreciate.
But sponsorship funding doesn't just benefit one child, it is spent by the community where it is needed most. This makes sure our sponsors' money is invested in the most effective and fair way possible.
Sediqa Ahmadi, our child sponsorship manager in Afghanistan says:
Your support has brought all the communities close together to discuss and solve their problems from different angles. I express heartfelt thanks for all that you do to support us.
Our ActionAid sponsorship teams collect child messages twice a year. For many sponsors, like Maria, receiving these letters and photos from their child is the highlight of being a sponsor.
The session usually starts with the children singing, dancing and playing games. Children are encouraged to be creative and expressive. They are never told what to draw or what they should write.
Staff make sure that children understand the purpose of the messages and the active role they are playing in their community’s development, and involve all children so that none are left out.
Sediqa Ahmadi, child sponsorship manager from Afghanistan says:
When we meet the children we see how happy they become when they are drawing for their sponsors. It seems that they have a unique feeling about child sponsorship.
The difference that sponsorship makes
Our child sponsorship manager from Kenya, Sherine Ochieng, says:
Dear ActionAid child sponsors, I am deeply grateful for the generous contributions that you are making. When I visit the communities where we work, I get overwhelmed with gladness by hearing first hand information of how funds raised through child sponsorship have uplifted the community from poverty and mean they now live in a meaningful and dignified life.
From seeing women being able to stand up and speak in a meeting where men are present, to organising themselves in groups to challenge the people in authority as well as cultural beliefs that have made them subservient to men is empowering. Through your contributions, we are all making the world a better place to live harmoniously and I am forever grateful.
To all our amazing child sponsors - thank you so much. As you can see, your support means so much to your sponsored children, to their communities, and to our sponsorship staff whose life-changing work is only possible thanks to your generosity.
If you already sponsor a child – thank you. We'd love your help spreading the word about the joy of sponsoring a child this Christmas - so why not share this blog?
And if you don’t sponsor a child with ActionAid – then why not sponsor a child today? For just 65p a day you can help keep a child safe from harm and support their community. They'll be thrilled to send you their own messages, pictures and updates and you will have the chance to build a personal relationship with them by writing back, while knowing that your support is helping their whole community to thrive.
Photos: Christopher Davy/ActionAid, Nicolas Axelrod/ActionAid, Lorenzo Tugnoli/ActionAid, Nicolas Axelrod/ActionAid, Sylvain Cherkaoui/ActionAid