Child Sponsorship

I’ve been supporting a little girl through World Vision since I was in college. I wanted to do this earlier in life, but I had no money, so I had to wait until I did. And even then, my mother helped me donate periodically those first few years whenever I was short on funds. I’m still rather short on funds, but the reason I love this program is that it doesn’t take much money to make an impact. World Vision supports children in dozens of countries by providing clean water, food, health care, and supplies needed to attend school.

My little girl is named Nonlanhla, and she lives in South Africa. I get an update on her once a year, with a school photo. I’d love to say she’s a sweet little girl, but Nonlanhla looks like she may be a little punk. She has very short, boy-cut hair, never smiles, and without fail she stares at the person taking her picture like they’ve bothered her. When I started sponsoring her, she was 5, and now she’s 12. I’ve been able to watch her grow up on the other side of the world. I get updates on how she’s doing in school, which subjects she likes best, and she writes a little greeting on each one telling me what she’s been up to. She has sent me Christmas cards, and she wrote me a letter a couple of years ago after her mother died of AIDS. Her father is long gone. She and her little brother went to live with an aunt. Unfortunately, without World Vision’s support, she would probably would not be doing as well as she is. The organization subscribes to the teach-a-man-to-fish school of thought, and instead of providing handouts to poor children, they help improve health, sanitation, electrical services, agricultural practices, and educational opportunities in the kids’ communities in order to help the people help themselves and break the cycle of poverty.

I’m not kidding myself – I know my personal $35 a month doesn’t go very far, and one child is only one child. Luckily, though, organizations like World Vision enable us to make a magnified impact by combining our giving with others’, and to me, it is very worth it. If you’ve never looked into child sponsorship, I urge you to check it out. Compassion International is another great organization doing similar work for $38/month.

If you want to help but don’t have anything to give, there are other easy, fun sites that can help you affect change for free. Below is a short list of giving opportunities and petition sites. Are there other that you know of that you’d like to share?

The Hunger Site and related pages (Breast Cancer/Child Health/Literacy/Rainforest/Animal Rescue Sites): Click to provide food/mammograms/conserve acres of rainforest/etc.

Care2: the largest online community for healthy and green living, human rights, and animal welfare (lots of petitions to sign here)

FreeRice.com: Play a game to test your vocabulary and provide 10 grains of rice with each correct answer through the World Food Programme! It’s fun!

Ripple.org: Click to provide clean water, food, access to education, and micro loans

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