Some people may remember a fairly common commerical on the television from the 80s and 90s was actress Sally Struthers in front of the camera, with the camera panning an impoverished village in a developing nation. Struthers would interact with malnourished children, asking viewers to sponsor a child for a small daily sum. Today, sponsoring a child is still one of the best ways to make a difference in a child’s life in one of these developing nations.
In a study detailed in Christianity Today, professor of economics at University of California–Berkley and longtime supporter of child sponsorship, Bruce Wydick, recounts how he decided to find out how programs of this sort affected the lives of the children involved. With the assistance of graduate students, over the course of several years, Wydick analyzed thousands of cases in several countries. He was shocked by the initial findings, indicating that no matter how the data was interpreted, it always showed significant educational improvements in subjects. “You could beat this data senseless,” he states in the article, “and it was incapable of showing anything other than extremely large and statistically significant impacts on educational outcomes for sponsored children.”
He continues, citing specific facts and figures:
In all six countries, we find that sponsorship results in better educational outcomes for children. Overall, sponsorship makes children 27 to 40 percent more likely to complete secondary school, and 50 to 80 percent more likely to complete a university education…. We found that child sponsorship means that when the child grows up, he is 14 to 18 percent more likely to obtain a salaried job, and 35 percent more likely to obtain a white-collar job. Many of the sponsored children become teachers as adults instead of remaining jobless or working in menial agricultural labor. We found some evidence that they are more likely to grow up to be both community leaders and church leaders.
Wanting to better understand the results, Wydick discusses the psychological benefits for a child who is sponsored with Wess Stafford, then president of Compassion International, Christian child sponsorship organization dedicated to the long-term development of children living in poverty around the world, which sponsors nearly 1.5 million children in 26 countries. Stafford explained that, “poverty causes children to have very low self-esteem, low aspirations. The big difference that sponsorship makes is that it expands children’s views about their own possibilities.”
Each organization is different in how funds and services are allocated. Logistically, sponsorship typically offers a child the opportunity to go to school, also supplying and associated incidentals (shoes, uniforms), as well as vitamins, meals, shoes, and medical assistance. Communication is generally encouraged between sponsor and child, with some organizations offering a sponsor the ability to visit and meet their child.
While controversy has arisen over the years as to the efficacy of sponsorship programs, overall, these programs go a long way in helping those in need – individuals, families, and communities. After all, you can wish the world was a better place, or you can pick one place and make it better.
Article Source : New Life for Haiti