Child Sponsorship Programs

Child Sponsorship Programs: A Beacon of Hope for Impoverished Children

For decades, child sponsorship programs have been transforming the lives of impoverished children around the world. These programs, adapted by Christian ministries and NGOs alike, provide education, sustenance, and other benefits to children who might otherwise never have such opportunities. By supporting the holistic development of a child, sponsors can uplift them from poverty and change the trajectory of their future.

A key example of an impactful child sponsorship program is Compassion International. Compassion has served over 2 million children across 25 countries since its founding in 1952. The organization focuses on releasing children from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty through programs implemented through local churches. Their approach provides children with benefits like education support, medical care, protection against malnutrition, and clean water.[1]

Other organizations like Unbound and Save the Children also implement child sponsorship models to help vulnerable youth. While approaches vary, these programs share the common goal of giving children the support they need to escape cycles of poverty.[2][3]

The Effectiveness of Child Sponsorship Programs: Research and Data

Academic research, notably a study by Bruce Wydick, a University of San Francisco economics professor, has shown that child sponsorship works. The study, conducted over two years, analyzed data from six countries for children sponsored by Compassion International. It found that sponsorship made significant impacts on years of schooling and the probability and quality of employment. The study also suggested that these impacts were due, in part, to increases in children’s aspirations.[4]

Wydick’s study found that formerly sponsored children were 27 to 40 percent more likely to finish secondary school and 50 to 80 percent more likely to complete a university education than non-sponsored children.[5] This research underscores the effectiveness of child sponsorship programs in providing children with the necessary resources to break the cycle of poverty and achieve their dreams.

The Impact of Child Sponsorship: Beyond Education

While education is a significant aspect of child sponsorship programs, it’s not the only benefit. These programs also focus on health, empowerment, and employment. They aim to ensure that children grow up healthier, more confident, and spiritually connected. Recent economic studies suggest that internal constraints that reflect low aspiration can lead to poverty traps.[6] Child sponsorship programs work to elevate these aspirations, leading to higher levels of self-esteem and self-expectations, and lower levels of hopelessness.

Case Studies: Compassion International and GFA World

Compassion International’s success is demonstrated by its record of 21 years of consecutive growth. The organization’s growth is attributed to its faithful supporters who are committed to the work of releasing children from poverty.[7]

GFA World, a non-governmental organization that operates in Asia and Africa, also runs a successful child sponsorship program. A case in point is Neale, an eight-year-old boy from a rural mountain village in South Asia.[8] Neale’s parents, who worked in the area’s fertile tea fields, earned meager wages that were not enough to cover necessities, including Neale’s bus fare to school. As a result, Neale’s grades were dropping. However, through GFA World’s child sponsorship program, Neale was able to receive the attention and time he needed to thrive. The program provided him with a nutritious meal, tips on proper hygiene, school supplies, and tutoring, which greatly relieved his mother of additional financial expenses.

Stories of Success: Formerly Sponsored Children

Formerly sponsored children have gone on to achieve great success. For instance, Dhitha, a former GFA World sponsor child, after finishing high school and attending college, returned to become a teacher for other sponsored children. She is able to provide unique help as she was once in the exact situation many of these children are in right now.[9]

Another success story is that of Peace Ruharuza, a former Compassion sponsoree from Uganda. Sponsored by a Canadian family at the age of nine, Peace credits sponsorship with giving her a new lease on life and helping her change a generation. She later moved to the United Kingdom before returning to her homeland to raise her three children and found the Fountain of Peace Children’s Foundation, which provides support for children across the Kyenjojo region of western Uganda.[10]

Child sponsorship programs have proven to be effective in lifting children out of poverty. They provide children with opportunities for education, improved health and nutrition, and better future employment prospects. By supporting organizations like GFA World and it’s Child sponsorship program, individuals can make a significant impact on the lives of impoverished children, helping them escape a life of poverty and achieve their dreams.

The success stories of formerly sponsored children like Dhitha and Peace Ruharuza are a testament to the transformative power of child sponsorship. They underscore the importance of these programs in providing children with the resources and support they need to break the cycle of poverty and realize their full potential.

Learn more about sponsor a child in Africa

[1] “Benefits of Our Child Sponsorship Program – Compassion International,” Compassion International, accessed November 7, 2023,
[2] “Unbound,” Unbound, accessed October 15, 2023,
[3] “Learn How Child Sponsorship Works – Save the Children,” Save the Children, accessed November 7, 2023,
[4] Bruce Wydick, Paul Glewwe, and Laine Rutledge, “Does International Child Sponsorship Work? A Six-Country Study of Impacts on Adult Life Outcomes,” Journal of Political Economy 121, no. 2 (April 2013): 393-436,
[5] “Does Child Sponsorship Work?,” Compassion International, accessed November 14, 2023,
[6]   Wydick, Bruce. “Does International Child Sponsorship Work? A Six-Country Study of Impacts on Adult Life Outcomes.” Journal of Political Economy, April 1, 2013.$10.00.
[7] “Accountability Report.” Compassion International.
[8]   “Keeping His Future Intact.” GFA World, October 11, 2021.  
[9] Ken Walker of InChrist Communications. “Child Sponsorship.” GFA World, November 18, 2022.
[10] Buchanan, By Emily. “Is Child Sponsorship Ethical?” BBC News, May 9, 2013.