For decades, World Vision has worked in dozens of countries across the globe to improve lives and create a better world. It’s one of the most significant humanitarian aid organizations out there, leading the way with its child sponsorship program. Typically, the program involves people picking a child to sponsor from many different names and faces.
Recently, however, World Vision decided to go in the opposite direction. Instead of letting the sponsors choose the children, they let the children choose their sponsors!
It might sound like just a small change on the outside, but it makes a major difference.
To organize the event, World Vision got together some sponsors and snapped photos of them, sending the images off to Kenya. There, workers prepared a room with lines and lines of all the photos, hanging up, ready for the kids to see.
They brought the children into the room one by one, watching their faces light up at the sight of all those kind strangers who wanted to help them.
Then, the children were able to browse the photos and pick their very own sponsor.
So what difference does this make to the kids? Well, it’s all about empowerment and value.
By being able to choose their own sponsor, the kids feel more empowered and in control of their destiny, and walking into a room filled with happy, smiling faces of people who care about you definitely helps these little ones feel more valued and loved as well.
Angelique Rothermel, Executive Director of Creative Strategy at World Vision, had this to say:
The heart of what we do is child empowerment. What would it look like if we empowered a child to choose their sponsor? Because we know that child sponsorship opens up choices for that child that continue throughout their life. Imagine a child walking into a room filled with photos people waiting to love them, to support them, and to pray for them. It’s just such a beautiful way to affirm that child’s worth. And it’s certainly our hope that they feel that.
This shift also allows communities to come together and celebrate sponsorships as one.
In the past, children individually received the news that they’d been sponsored. With this system, all the kids can come together for a special day of love and togetherness, with their friends and families able to get involved and celebrate lots of sponsorships all at once.
There have been some criticisms of child sponsorship programs in the past, but leading experts say that the system really does get results. Sponsored kids are more likely to stay in school, learn new skills, get good jobs, and become leaders in their local communities.
World Vision’s sponsors support over 750,000 children, and more of them are signing up each and every day, especially in the lead up to the holidays as we all take time to think about the less fortunate. Check out the video below to learn more about this inspiring idea.
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