Sponsor A Child

What Is Child Sponsorship?

Child sponsorship is donating a regular amount of money (eg 15 a month – less than 50p a day) to a childrens charity, who will then use the money to clothe, feed, educate and support a needy or vulnerable child and their community. Generally, sponsors are kept up to date with information about how their sponsorship is making a difference to the life of a child.

Child sponsorship allows you to connect with a specific child in need and make a profound difference in that child’s life, family and community

Different charities offer different types of sponsorship; here you can find an overview of the major sponsorship charities.

SOS Children 

SOS Children (or SOS Children’s Villages) work in 125 countries and offer child sponsorship in over 100. This includes most of the developing world. SOS is primarily an orphan charity, caring for orphaned and abandoned children (Aids Orphans, Street children, war orphans, disaster orphans etc.), and preventing family break up. Sponsorship mainly pays for providing a loving family for these children. No Sponsorship income is used for UK costs. Less than a third of SOS Children’s international income is from sponsorship, and it raises much of its funds directly in the developing world. In the UK SOS have a very low advertising spend and mainly spread by “word of mouse”.

Barnardos Child Sponsorship

One in three children in the UK must make do without basic essentials like three meals a day or adequate clothing. As a Barnardo’s Child Sponsor you’ll make a real difference to a vulnerable child or young person who is desperate for your help. And we’ll show you exactly how you’re doing just that. Once you’ve found out the child or young person you’re sponsoring, you can go straight to your own personalised website. You’ll find regular feedback from your sponsored child and their Barnardo’s project worker.

World Vision

World Vision  work in “nearly 100 countries” and offer child sponsorship in many of these. World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation, working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. They therefore work through communities and do not generally directly care for children. They say “World Vision apologetically takes a community-based approach to development – a fact we publicly promote at every opportunity…(lengthy quotation shortened)… while sponsored children may receive some direct benefits – like school materials or a jacket for warmth – this in no way represents the entirety of our work in a community”. Thus sponsored child gets a small giftfor agreeing to be on the sponsorship programme, and funds are spent in the community . World Vision is  a member of the World Evangelical Alliance. They have a high profile TV and print advertising presence in the UK.

Plan UK

Plan UK work in 49 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America. They describe themselves as a “child-centred community development organisation”.  Plan is one of the longest established sponsorship charities and their  approach to child sponsorship has evolved over their 70 year history. They now work with whole communities rather than individual children. Since mid 2009 for each £1 in sponsorship received, 80% is spent on projects and at least 72% is spent in the country where the child lives. So when you sponsor a child with Plan, your money goes to community development projects in your sponsored child’s country, for example providing clean water, education, healthcare or sanitation.

Action Aid UK

Actionaid work in 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America. They are probably the best and best known fundraisers in the UK market. The model for sponsorship they use is similar to World Vision and Plan except as far as we can tell with Actionaid comparatively more of the funds are used for campaigning on behalf of communities (for example, lobbying governments against the prohibitive cost of state school fees or VAT on school books, which contribute to families remaining in poverty) and correspondingly less for directly helping them on the ground.

Compassion UK

Compassion is a Christian child sponsorship charity that works in 26 countries. It costs £21 a month to sponsor a child and a minimum of 80 per cent of this goes directly towards financing education, healthcare, nutritious meals, safe places to play and Christian teaching for sponsored children. Compassion’s other programmes include the Child Survival Programme which cares for vulnerable mothers and babies, the Leadership Development Programme which sponsors young people through university, and the Respond Programme which funds community projects such as the provision of clean water. However, these other programmes are fundraised for separately, not paid for using sponsorship money which is spent directly on the children.

Every Child

EveryChild works in eleven countries and is currently offering sponsorships in Malawi, India and Cambodia. Sponsorship payments are treated as unrestricted contributions to EveryChild’s worldwide work. EveryChild’s projects are focused on ensuring children grow up within the care and safety of a a family environment


Your regular donation of £15 a month – just 50p a day – can make a huge difference to a young life. Cry has child sponsorship programmes with the HOME OF HOPE Children’s Home in Albania and FATHER’S HOUSE Children’s Home in Ukraine.

Some of this information is from SOS Villages. 

Children in sponsorship programs live in some of the world’s poorest communities and often come from the families who need help most within those communities. They are extremely vulnerable to the effects of poverty, disease, hunger, human rights abuses, violence and environmental devastation. When the global economy is good, poor children usually benefit the least. When the global economy slows, poor children feel the impact most. The best charities offering child sponsorship have been doing so for more than 50 years. They’ve learned how to go beyond a short-term handout and provide an ongoing hand up to the children they serve. Child sponsorship projects address the root causes of poverty, disease, hunger, environmental degradation and other pressing problems so children can develop and flourish. They do that through sustainable development – vital programs and strategic changes that local residents can maintain and build upon.

We all want to know that our giving makes a difference. Child sponsorship provides practical answers to the question, “What am I accomplishing?” You can measure your sponsored child’s progress through report cards, letters and photos. Your sponsored child’s family and community will work with development specialists to measure their progress toward goals that directly impact your child’s health, well-being and opportunities for growth. You can even visit your sponsored child and talk with her family and members of her community to learn how their lives are improving.

Most children expand their dreams as they experience the new opportunities provided by sponsorship. Sponsored children have become teachers, doctors, nurses, IT programmers, government officials and other professionals. Many former-sponsored children sow the blessings they’ve reaped by becoming child sponsors themselves. – Christopher Redner

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