Five-year-old Valeria during a creative workshop run by ActionAid in El Estor, Guatemala

In a remote, rural area of Guatemala, five-year-old Valeria loves to go to school where she learns and plays with her friends.

Child sponsorship is helping girls like Valeria stay in education and realise their full potential.

But around the world, 129 million girls are not in school.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made a serious situation worse. As schools slowly open again in many countries, girls are struggling to return to their classrooms as they face further poverty and care work responsibilities in a pandemic.

That’s why ActionAid runs a network of projects that supports girls to go to school, keeps them from dropping out, and helps them to catch up on learning that they have missed.

ActionAid believes that every girl has the right to go to school and has the power to transform her life.

On Day of the Girl, your sponsorship could help a girl open the door to a brighter future.

What happens when I sponsor a child?

As soon as you sign up to be a sponsor, we’ll send you a welcome pack with a photo of the child you’re sponsoring and their story so far. And that’s just the start of the journey you’ll go on together.

You’ll get two handwritten messages a year from your child telling you about them and their life – they might be letters, drawings, or postcards – plus detailed updates about how they’re getting on from our staff in their country.

You can write back to your sponsored child. Over time you’ll get a new photo at special milestones so you can see them grow and thrive.

Read our frequently asked questions

What will my child sponsorship pay for?

  • Food

    Nutritious meals for children and seeds and livestock for families to grow their own food

  • Education

    Schoolbooks, fees, equipment and even a whole new school building in the sponsored child’s community

  • Clean water

    Building wells, purifying water sources, and better sanitation facilities

  • Healthcare

    Medical and dental clinics, basic medical supplies and health education

What child sponsorship can do: Purna’s story

Purna is a midwife and has two daughters. Here she’s holding up a photo of herself aged 12, when she was sponsored through ActionAid. 

Growing up in rural Nepal, Purna’s family were very poor - her family couldn't afford to send her to school. But with the help of her sponsor, Purna was able to go to school and fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse, then a midwife. 

Purna has now helped to deliver hundreds of babies, saved many lives and cared for many more mothers and children.

Being without education is like being blind. [But my sponsor] opened my eyes. Because of them I was also able to open the eyes of my children. Education is very important.”

How is my sponsorship money spent?

  • 80% of the donations we receive through child sponsorship goes overseas (while 20% is spent in the UK on raising awareness and finding more supporters).
  • Of the 80% overseas gift, 70% goes directly to your sponsored child’s community or, if there is an exceptional need such as a life-threatening emergency, another community within their country.
  • The remaining 30% is used to fund other vital work in developing countries, and running child sponsorship so that you can receive messages from your sponsored child, and hear how your gift is changing lives.

I'm ready to sponsor a child

Top image: Five-year-old Valeria playing at a creative workshop run by ActionAid in El Estor,Guatemala. Karin Schermbrucker/ActionAid Other photos: Sharron Lovell, Greg Funnell, Nicolas Axelrod, Caroline Thomas, Savann Oeurm, Des Willie, Nayantara Gurung Kakshapati, Celia Peterson / ActionAid.

Page updated 28 September 2021