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I decided to sponsor a child once I could afford it ages ago, when I was still at school. I'd read articles in magazines about how rewarding other people have found sponsoring and I've always wanted to give it a shot. So once I got a full time job (just under 3 years ago) I went to the World Vision website (www.worldvision.org.uk) and signed up to sponsor a child in the third world.
ABOUT WORLD VISION
Worl Vision is a Christian charity, but helps people irrespective of their beliefs. I am not Christian and have never felt pressured by World Vision - the Christmas cards they produce for people to send to their sponsors are not overtly religious and they don't send you religious propaganda.
It receives funding from both the UK government and the EU, but most of its funding comes from voluntary sources, including nearly 70,000 sponsors. However, this is not enough to help everybody and more help is always needed. Its annual report is available on the website.
They help people affected by poverty, hunger, injustice, etc. in third world countries and by sponsoring a child you will be helping their community, as well as them personally. Details of the work they do is available on their website.
I asked to be sent a sponsor pack, which arrived promptly by post. It asked if I would like to sponsor a child in India called Dilip for £18 a month. I did.
£18 might seem a lot (and indeed, it's not a small sum), but consider how much money you waste on non-essentials like DVDs, CDs, junk food, going out, magazines, books, clothes, etc. Most people I know can certainly afford to cut back the price pf a DVD and a tub of Ben&Jerry's per month, so why not help someone who can't afford these luxuries we take for granted? Why not help a child who may otherwise die?
Unlike two other charities I support, World Vision has never phoned me to ask me to increase my donation. They do suggest a gift donation (if you can afford it) for your child's birthday or Christmas, but they don't pressure you - I am currently unemployed, so I can only afford to pay £2.50 to cover the cost of Dilip's birthday card this year rather than sending an extra donation, but I know that World Vision won't make me feel guilty about this. I feel that they are grateful for the money they already receive from me.
They keep me updated regularly - Dilip has sent me drawings, World Vision workers send me update letters and Dilip's uncle has written to thank me too. I've also received annual photographs with an annual update form which told me Dilip's height, weight, state of health, education level and that he likes cricket and his favourite colour is black. They also tell me what benefits the community has received, which include a well for safe drinking water, healthcare and a rickshaw van for income.
You are allowed to send your child presents, eg. for birthdays, but they must be small enough to fit in the provided envelope, light in weight and there are some rough guidelines (eg. don't send money or maps not approved by the Indian government). Ideal presents are ones that can be shared, like pencils or crayons, so that children in the community without sponsors don't feel too left out. I've sent coloured pencils before, as he seems to like drawing.
If you wish, you can even arrange to visit your sponsored child. I don't think I will do so in the near future, but it's nice to know I can!
DO I RECOMMEND IT?
Wholeheartedly. It is so rewarding to know that I am doing a little good in the world and well worth missing out on a few luxuries for. I pay by direct debit, so I arranged for it to be taken out the day after I got paid and didn't really miss the money (of course, this gets messed up if you change jobs!). Once I get back on my feet and get a job again, I hope to be able to sponsor another child too. World Vision is one charity that makes a visible difference - and so can you.
Believe it or not this is the present I asked my hubby this year and was going to get round to find more info about it soon! Just came across this review so I am going to go with the site you recommend. We don't have children (by option) and we don't think this a good world at the moment to bring more people into; I find that it is important to help those already here. So, God bless for this review.
hiker 07.07.2006 17:07
Just want to add my support to this kind of giving. My sponsorship is through PLAN International - which is a non-religious organisation that works on exactly the same principles. As with World Vision you commit to a fixed sum - and any extras are up to you. I do get requests for extras, usually when there's been a particular disaster in one of the operational areas...but they are postal requests and there is no hassle, no follow-up - it's very much a give what you can regime. Again there is the focus on building personal contacts between individuals but helping entire communities. It all helps - and it does so in a way that enables us to learn about the real people behind the stories. I recommend it (whichever organisation you choose) - especially if you have children of your own. Lx
fluffy20 02.06.2006 15:58
I sponsor a 5 year old girl called Antonia in Bolivia through Worldvision. I have found it to be very rewarding and have asked for details of another child to sponsor. Don't think about doing this, DO IT NOW. Call Worldvision 01908 841010. Jo