Gransnet forums


Advise needed re sponsoring a child

(38 Posts)
NfkDumpling Tue 25-Feb-14 14:24:15

I've been supporting Guide Dogs for the Blind for many years and must have given a complete dog by now, so, having just been to India and seen some of the problems there, I'd really like to to sponsor a child with help for education instead. Googled sponsoring and am thoroughly confused. There are so many different organisations. Anyone out there sponsoring who can give advice?

NfkDumpling Tue 25-Feb-14 14:25:08

(Suspect I've put this under the wrong heading. It's not a notice)

nightowl Tue 25-Feb-14 14:35:08

I sponsor a child through Plan International. I find it a very good organisation. I receive regular updates about the child, his family and local area and I am able to send cards, letters and small gifts. You can also register for gift aid if you are a taxpayer and leave a legacy in your will. It's lovely to feel you can make a difference to a specific child's life.

vegasmags Tue 25-Feb-14 14:36:12

I have sponsored a girl in Tanzania for 6 years now, with World Vision. I am sure there are many similar organisations, but I have been very happy with World Vision. What attracted me to them initially was the way they help and assist a particular village or geographical area, one part of which is sponsoring the education of the children. They also guarantee that if your circumstances change, they will honour the sponsorship you have begun. I have regular contact with Bernadetta Paul, in the form of letters and cards. She is 13 now and wants to be a teacher. World Vision are very good on the admin front, so it has all been very straightforward.

NfkDumpling Tue 25-Feb-14 14:43:08

Thanks, I'll look at those - the concern was whether the money gets to the child. I like the idea that World Vision continue to sponsor if circumstances change, that was one of my concerns.

baubles Tue 25-Feb-14 14:46:33

I'm onto my third child with Plan International. I enjoy reading about the work that they do but have to admit I'm very bad at communicating with the child and do feel a little guilty about that.

dollie Tue 25-Feb-14 15:03:42

This is a charity in the uk where you can sponsor children..

whenim64 Tue 25-Feb-14 15:23:53

Orphans In Need is a good charity to find a child or family to sponsor. They have a Facebook site, too, which shows progress in different areas. I sponsor a girl in Kashmir who was orphaned in the earthquake a few years ago. She is the same age as my grandson.

Mishap Tue 25-Feb-14 15:49:02

Action Aid is the one we donate through. I don't do direct communication with the sponsored child as it feels a bit patronising to me - don't know why - but we keep the money going.

nightowl Tue 25-Feb-14 16:18:11

I know what you mean Mishap. When I started to sponsor a child I was concerned about the patronising aspect of it as well, and I hated the fact that the child was referred to as my 'foster child'. That child had a perfectly good family and didn't need another one, foster or otherwise. I think Plan International must have caught up because that term is never used now I'm glad to say. I don't communicate a lot with the child I sponsor but when I do I try to stick to telling him about life in the UK and thank him for sharing details of his family and village life with me.

whenim64 Tue 25-Feb-14 17:09:57

Same here - I dislike the idea of being patroniing, but Assia sends occasional letters about her small school and her life and I tell her about a few children I know where I can see they compare. I only respond when she writes as I don't want her to feel she is obliged to contract me.

With other charities, I don't contribute when they offer fluffy toys and newsletters or prizes. Just use the money on what it's intended for, please!.

grannyactivist Tue 25-Feb-14 17:19:19

Our family has sponsored many children through World Vision and we have every confidence in them as an organisation. I have also met adults who were sponsored as children through through Compassion.
I sponsor the education of three children in Nicaragua through a tiny local organisation where people fly out there a couple of times a year and pay school fees directly to the school and they also join in local building programmes.

Iam64 Tue 25-Feb-14 19:17:39

We've also sponsored through Action Aid, and I donate to World Vision.

Greenfinch Tue 25-Feb-14 19:27:34

I have done it through Action Aid for many years and feel they always keep us well-informed as to where the money is spent.

Ariadne Wed 26-Feb-14 05:27:06

We have been sponsoring with Action Aod for many years, and, like the rest of you, do not do the communication bit, for the same reasons as you.

I am also wary of any overtly Christian (but it would apply to any other religion) charity, because evangelism plus charity is, I feel, a dangerous combinational.

NfkDumpling Wed 26-Feb-14 07:49:32

Thanks All, it's narrowed the field considerably and given me points to ponder especially Ariadne's point about the religious aspect. Guide Dogs have persuaded me to continue supporting them until the present pup is trained this summer, so I've time to do my homework.

Sandy217 Thu 27-Feb-14 12:29:24

I worked for ActionAid for 17 years and was lucky enough to visit a few areas where they work with children and the communities. I think it's a very worthwhile charity and I saw first hand the benefits the whole community receives through sponsorship. The important thing to remember is that your money doesn't go directly to your sponsored child but to the community they live in. Therefore if little Joe is sponsored but his sister Susan isn't they will still both receive the same benefits, depending on what priority was set by their community, whether it be safe water, education or something else to help them. The child is the key to helping the whole community. It was amazing to see. Sorry, I've gone on a little, but my visits were life changing for me and I just wish others could share in such things smile

lifecycle Thu 27-Feb-14 13:28:48

Thanks Sandy217 - it confirms what we feel we know about Action Aid's child sponsorship scheme. We have sponsored two children in Burma (Myanmar) since a visit to Burma 18 months ago. It's very personal for us as my mum was of mixed race, born and grew up in Rangoon until the family were forced to flee in 1942 when Burma was over-run. My mum and her sisters survived thanks to the generosity of strangers and without them, I wouldn't be here. Such a beautiful country, and despite atrocities in some areas we fell in love with Burma and it's people.

nightowl Thu 27-Feb-14 13:35:57

That's really interesting Sandy. I haven't been fortunate enough to visit any of the children I have sponsored but I know that Plan International work in the same way, ie the money goes to the whole community rather than the individual child. When I spoke of changing an individual child's life I really meant that its nice to make the link via one child in the community. It sounds as though the charities all work in similar ways nowadays, and things have changed a lot over the last 15 years or so.

BlueBelle Thu 27-Feb-14 20:58:53

I was lucky my youngest daughter did a years voluntary work in Zimbabwe and I inherited a few children they gradually dropped off over the years but one stayed with me he's now 28 I don't sponsor him any more and he's now working and married and wants to pay for me to go over for a holiday I don't feel up to that long travel and the heat but its lovely to know he's on his way in life

petallus Fri 28-Feb-14 09:49:50

I sponsored a child in Africa with Plan for many years.

I was happy to do it but what I did not like all that much, and was not prepared for, was having to be in regular contact with the child and her parents.

It felt very patronising on my part, and I felt guilty that I had so much when they were so poor, and I wondered if the family wanted to hear from me or were coerced into doing it because I was paying a monthly amount.

I have heard that more recently Plan have stopped contact between sponsors and children because it was causing jealousy between them and their siblings and other children they knew.

So I could recommend Plan if you want to sponsor a child abroad. The money goes to the village, not the child, to provide fresh water and so on.

Sandy217 Fri 28-Feb-14 13:56:26

I think people fall into two camps Petallus, those who feel uncomfortable with contact and feel patronising and those who love to hear how the child is getting on. When there is a "message collection" from children to their sponsors all children get to write a message so generally there isn't any jealousy. They sending of gifts is not allowed for the same reason, but if a sponsor really feels that they want to send something there is a Gift Fund so general things can be bought in country for the children in the village, like footballs, colouring things etc.

shysal Fri 28-Feb-14 14:27:32

I have sponsored several children through World Vision, but had to withdraw for financial reasons when I divorced and retired.
These days I support, which I heard about on GN. I always choose to lend to women who are working to fund their children's education, or have taken in orphans. I initially lent to one person, but have lent and been repaid many times, so that the same outlay has helped dozens of families. I find it very rewarding to help those who are working hard to better themselves.

ISponsorDirectly Mon 28-Jul-14 18:15:54

You can always sponsor a child or an entire orphanage directly - I am doing just that and it's a real eye opener and great experience. You can talk to the people running the places- the people who have suffered a lot through civil war or genocide. They appreciate a lot a direct contact as they don't get that often. I am involved in supporting a few charities - but we're a group of 2 and it will take us some time, so if you want to feel that you are making a real difference in children' lives I recommend direct sponsorship. Here are a few orphanages:

Sierra Leone
Name of Orphanage: The Needy Today
Web Address:
Details: Houses 191 orphans between the age of 5 and 13 affected by the Civil War

Name of Orphanage: L’esperance Children’s Aid
Web Address:
Details: Houses 70 orphans between the age of 6 months and 12 years affected by poverty and genocide.

Name of Orphanage: Sok Orphanage
Web Address:
Details: Houses orphans affected by extreme poverty and political conflicts

Name of Orphanage: Duc Son Orphanage
Web Address:
Details: Houses orphans between the age of 2 months and 37 years affected by extreme poverty,

our new facebook page smile

Anne58 Mon 28-Jul-14 19:28:03

Ariadne very interested to read your post ^
I am also wary of any overtly Christian (but it would apply to any other religion) charity, because evangelism plus charity is, I feel, a dangerous combinational^

There was one particular organisation that I stopped supporting for this very reason, perhaps a topic for conversation next time we meet up?