Tag Archives: Sponsor a Child

Child Sponsorship… good or bad?

I have have just finished listening to a 30 minute radio program on child sponsorship, it looked at the positives of child sponsorship and also the negatives. It is definitely worth a listen too yourself and you can do so clicking here (this may only be available for people in the UK, so sorry if you are trying to listen from around the world).

There were a number of queries raised about how different charities ran the child sponsorship program and I though I would write a little post to explain how we run our sponsorship program at Hope for Life. You don’t have to listen to the radio show to follow the post below though.

The issues raised were:

  • Is the admin cost of running a sponsorship program really expensive?
  • Does it really help change the individuals future?
  • Surely sustainability is helping to change a community not just an individual?
  • What happens when the sponsorship comes to an end?

So here’s an insight into how we differ from other charities…

Is the admin cost of running a sponsorship program really expensive? 

This questions is definitely aimed at huge charities as opposed to localised charities like us. Big charities need to consider staffing costs to maintain the program, including the links back and forth to the western sponsor. There are also transport and other admin costs involved.

We don’t hire any additional individuals to maintain the sponsorship program (not that this is a problem, if child sponsorship is such a benefit to the individual/community then it is worth hiring more people), although it is part of our Education Officers job description to oversee that all the children’s school fees are paid each term and they are progressing well in school.

Our costs to maintaining a sponsorship program is extremely minimal.

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Does it really help to change the individuals future?

One of the co-founders of Hope for Life, grew up being sponsored by one of the charities mentioned in the radio show. He testifies to how that sponsorship program changed his and his families life, explaining how he got an education as a result and how he now has the life to be able to support him, his wife and his family back in the village.

There were things that he noticed, whilst growing up in the sponsorship program, that he would change/alter how specifics were carried out. It is invaluable to have his insight on the team and we have implemented/are implementing these thoughts into ours.

I have heard a number of testimonies from people who grew up as a sponsored child, of how their life has been transformed as a result, escaping severe poverty and now in a position to get a well paid job.

We are into the 2nd year of our sponsorship program and are already seeing the change in individuals that have been sponsored. This has of course been backed up by the few years they have been attending our catch-up program, instilling the basics of education. If you compare these children to how they were before they attended our catch-up classes, or even to other children the same age, which currently don’t go to school, it is unbelievable how much they have progressed. Throughout the year our staff send us report cards of the children sponsored into school are getting on. It is always a joy to read them, thinking back to Sept 2011 when we first started teaching them in our catch-up classes.

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Surely sustainability is helping to change a community not just an individual? 

Well yes and no.

This has been a big criticism of charities who are only focused on child sponsorship but as it was reported on the radio program, “One way of changing the community is to empower and change individuals, which then in turn changes the community” (I paraphrased slightly as I didn’t write the quote down).

We however differ in that alongside our education program we run our Livelihoods program. This link is huge, something that we focus most of our time and energy on, working with the parents of the children in our education program in helping them to earn a sustainable income for them and their families.

This means that we hope each child will be sponsored for approximately 5 years, by which time, we have given a loan, training and/or other support, to the parents to earn a sufficient income to then go on and pay for their own child’s education.

Because this is how you change a community isn’t it? By empowering families to look after themselves, free from poverty.

So if you sponsor a child with us, on year 4 of your sponsorship, we may ask you to reduce the amount you give, this is because we have hopefully empowered the parent of the child in such away that they are now in a position to be able to start paying a small amount towards the school fees. In this way the parents slowly adapt to paying for their child’s education as their income increases.

We feel this gets the best of supporting an individual as well as, supporting the family, all the while boosting the micro-economy within Katanga, helping to change the community.

Other ways we support the community is providing education, healthcare, support in their businesses and jobs, guidance and counselling. We are also continuing to look for a sustainable way to provide clean water and better sanitation.

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What happens when the sponsorship comes to an end?

There is a feeling that sponsorship creates a sort of financial dependency. As you have read a few paragraphs ago, we hope help the parents slowly adapt to paying school fees for themselves. After that the child should be in a family that is now able to support their needs sufficiently. 5 years later, both the child and the family will be in a better position to be able to maintain a lifestyle free from poverty.

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So I hope that gives you an insight into how we run our sponsorship program. It was quite a long but hopefully worth reading.

Perhaps it’s a dangerous thing for a charity to talk about the negatives of child sponsorship but I would be interested to hear your views, ideas and concerns about such a program. You can leave a comment using the comments section below this post.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child with us for £20/month then send us an email at hopeforlifekatanga@gmail.com.

Just to finish, I love that line from the little girl from Ghana (on the radio show), “I am surprised that someone so far away loves me so much”.

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New children and families joining us in Katanga

Recently we have had a few more children sponsored, from our catch-up classes, to go to school in Kampala. Children sponsored to go to school leaves spaces in our classroom in Katanga for new children and families to join our program.

Below are 3 children who have just recently joined our catch-up classes. It’s is not only the children who join our program but the family as a whole, so we will now be working alongside the families to help support them in a better future.

These children and families have joined our program here at Hope for Life Katanga because of a number of reasons for example, some come from extremely low income families, some from homes where there is drug and alcohol abuse and even some families which have parents missing due to death or neglect.

In each individual circumstance we work with the family to help in various aspects of their lives e.g. income, health and to help combat drug and child abuse.

Below our our the latest children to be sponsored, leave our catch-up classes and go to a formal school.

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If you want to know more about sponsoring a child to go to school for just £20/month then follow the link to go to our Sponsor a Child page.

Akram and Moses

I was just leaving Katanga today, when I very proudly saw 2 of HFL’s ‘ex’-students Moses & Akram as they return from their first day at their new school.

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In the picture below: Moses (in the Orange) and Akram (in the Red) with a few of their classmates, just last week, at the Hope for Life school.

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Thanks to all of you who Sponsor a Child to go to school.

If you would like to Sponsor a Child for £20/month then contact us at hopeforlifekatanga@gmail.com or find out more information on our Sponsor a Child webpage… www.hopeforlifekatanga.com/sponsor-a-child/

Fridays on the Sports Field

Each Friday Afternoon, we take the children to the local ‘green’ to play some sports, get some exercise and more importantly, have a whole load of fun! Copy of SDC14956

This is Christine who has just received a Sponsor to send her to a local private school. She will be leaving our Hope for Life informal classes and starting school in January (the start of the Ugandan school year).Copy of SDC14966

Christine is wearing the dress she got given from the charity ‘Dress a Girl around the World’Copy of SDC14975 Some of the children got well stuck in and some, as you can see from the picture below (the girl in the white) was a little bit nervous.SDC14981 SDC14982 SDC14983

These are our children who are due to break up from school for the Christmas holidays. We have children who join in our sports on Friday who also don’t go to school. We are building up relationships with all these kids too, so we know which children are the most in need of education.

As our children, in the Hope for Life school, get sponsored, we can then add the children on our waiting list to our school.  SDC14988

 

 

If you would like to sponsor any of these children for £20 per month and would like to know more about our Sponsorship program then click on the Sponsor a Child page

We are hoping to get 20 children sponsored to go to school by January… Can you help…?
SDC14905 SDC14908 SDC14910 SDC14915 SDC14939 SDC14938 SDC14930 SDC14921 SDC14943 SDC14981SDC14990 SDC14989 To find out more how you can Sponsor a Child then click on the following link… Sponsor a Child page.