By Rachael Boyer
World Vision US

When you were little, did you believe you could change the world? I did. I wanted to be part of the amazing work God is doing in the world. If you’re reading this, chances are you feel the same tug in your heart to help those in poverty and make a difference. But you may have some questions about the most effective way to do it.
Well, I invite you to take a fresh look at the most powerful way to fight poverty.

1.Myth: It’s an old-fashioned, outdated way of doing development work.
Truth: Child sponsorship is local, sustainable, and organic.
Those words are trendy now, but we’ve been taking this approach since the 70’s. We have local staff members who know the culture, customs, and community. Our agriculture programs promote organic farming. Sustainability and self-sufficiency are fundamental. It’s our goal to leave the community. Author and blogger Rachel Held Evans thought sponsorship was old fashioned too—until she saw our work in the field herself, and came away with a fresh perspective.

2.Myth: It’s not a “real” child. A hundred other people probably get a photo of the same child.
Truth: Each child in our sponsorship programs is matched with one sponsor.
With World Vision, you are the only sponsor for your sponsored child. They’re real children with real stories. You can get to know your sponsored child through letters and photos, packages, and email. You can even visit your sponsored child and see how your donation is helping transform their community. Here’s a story of a sponsor who did, and found that her sponsored child exists.

3.Myth: It won’t really make a difference.
Truth: It makes all the difference.
Sponsoring a child is even more powerful and life changing than you could have imagined. Former sponsored children have grown up to become doctors, teachers, pastors, farmers, social workers, engineers, business leaders, political leaders, and even Olympic athletes! But most of all, they grow up seeing the transformative power of God’s love through the actions of World Vision staff and the encouragement of their sponsors. Read some of their inspiring stories. God is at work in communities around the world. We’re joining him where the action is, and together, we’re bringing his kingdom – a kingdom where there is no sickness, or pain, or injustice.

Plus, on a practical level, giving a sustaining donation every month allows non-profits to budget and plan ahead. This means we can make a long-term investment in communities, instead of spending more time and money fundraising.

4.Myth: It’s just a temporary handout that will create dependencies.
Truth: Self-sufficiency is our primary goal for child sponsorship communities.
Let me tell you a story about the Chikwina-Mpamba community that I visited in Malawi. World Vision had been in the community for over 15 years, and by the time I visited in 2010, community members were proudly leading the programs, owned the office building, and were training other neighboring communities!

This community is a model of self-sufficiency. And this is not an isolated case. It’s how we do development work. We come along-side children, families, and communities. We listen to them, make an action plan together, facilitate them executing that plan, monitor progress together, make adjustments as needed, and celebrate success together.

If you want to get technical, learn more about our community development model.

5.Myth: My monthly donation goes straight to the child’s family.
Truth: Actually, because we believe the best way to change a child’s life is to help change the community they live in, we pool monthly sponsorship donations.
By combining your monthly gift with the gifts of other sponsors, corporate product donations, grants, and major gifts, we’re able to maximize the impact of your donation so each $1 you donate brings more than $1 in impact.

This way we can partner with communities to improve schools, clinics, water quality and sanitation, job training and opportunities for parents, and agriculture practices and nutrition. These things benefit your sponsored child, their family, and their entire community for years to come with way more impact than a direct handout. Learn more about how World Vision child sponsorship works.

Over the years, my family has sponsored several children, and enjoyed the letters, photos, community reports, and feeling of connection. I have visited World Vision’s sponsorship projects in 5 countries, and been amazed at the transformation I’ve seen. That’s why I keep working here. Child sponsorship works, and we are making a lasting difference.  We really are changing the world.

Story courtesy of World Vision US.