Friday, 6 June 2014

Why Child Sponsorship is so important.

The idea of sponsoring a child appeals to many people.  By giving a relatively small amount of money each month they feel that they’re helping someone much less privileged than them experience a better life.  And that, of course, is a good thing.

But child sponsorship is more important than just helping an individual child in the here and now. The changes that it brings about can be far reaching and can improve things for generations of children.

These are just three areas that child sponsorship has a direct impact on, ones that have a positive effect now and for the future.

Health
There’s an old saying that goes something like: “If you’ve got your health, you’ve got your wealth”. It seems a bit trite, but ask anyone who has been seriously ill, or had someone close to them fall gravely sick, and they’ll tell you it’s true.  Without being healthy all other dreams and aspirations, and even basic day to day living, becomes difficult and sometimes impossible.

Money raised through child sponsorship tackles the serious health issues that millions of children face around the world every day.  Children are most vulnerable under the age of 5 and death rates in pregnancy and child birth are very high in developing nations.  Child sponsorship helps improve access to quality health care through the building of medical centres and the training of staff, as well as the supply of essential drugs and medicines which can mean the difference between life and death.

Beyond this, programmes to raise awareness of nutritional needs, the installation of clean water and sanitation facilities and also efforts to improve nurturing and development all have an enormous impact on health and longevity. 

Education
The best way to end the cycle of poverty for children is through education.  We take it for granted that our children will receive free education that will prepare them for the world and that they will be encouraged to develop skills and interests.  And if we have enough money we can always pay for them to have a private education, with arguably better outcomes.

In poor countries access to education is often reserved for the wealthy, or is only provided for a few years if at all, and often it is denied based on gender with many girls receiving no education at all.

How does your child sponsorship money help?  It funds campaigns that raise awareness of the importance of education and also lobbies governments and official bodies to improve access to education for all children.  It helps train professional and volunteer education workers and builds and improves schools as well as providing supplies.

Changing Attitudes
Sadly a lot of the problems faced by children in poorer countries around the world stem from certain cultural attitudes and beliefs.  Girls are denied access to education on the belief that their place is as a child bearer and home maker carrying out domestic work.  This trickles down through a society and results in problems such as child marriage, an increase in physical, sexual and psychological violence towards women and girls and elevated problems around sexual and reproductive health.

Although giving girls access to education results in vastly improved chances for those girls, the prevailing attitudes remain and mean that progress is hampered.  And that’s just one example.

Child sponsorship money enables work to be carried out in communities to increase understanding and change attitudes.  It raises awareness of issues and puts pressure on governments to enact legislation that protects children and enforces change.

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These are the effects that your money has if you become a child sponsor.  They’re real changes that make the lives of millions better.  But it doesn’t end there.  These changes are passed down the generations and over time they help eradicate issues such as high infant mortality, child poverty and gender discrimination as well as vastly improving the economic stability of a country.

If you’d like to find out more about child sponsorship and how you can change the life of more than just one child click here http://www.plan-uk.org/sponsor-a-child/.

*  Guest post courtesy of Plan UK *

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