Sons of Korah band member Matt Jacoby recently visited an Area Development Project in Kanpur, India. "I was keen to see how World Vision was spending the funds Sons of Korah is helping to raise, mainly through the child sponsorship program."
"The first thing that most people want to know when they sign up to sponsor a child is whether the money that is given really gets to the child. I have had this question in my own mind, but I have since come to realise that the question is based on a very naive view of what it means to help a child in poverty. When we see people (particularly children) in poverty we want this situation to change quickly. But the problem of poverty will never change instantly.
Poverty is the result of two factors working together. The first is an external factor. It is the family, community, local area and political context. This includes lack of basic infrastructure like clean water and sanitation, lack of access to education and health facilities and lack of employment. In many cases, even if people did believe that they could live a better life, these external limitations prevent them.
Many people living in poverty don’t believe that change is possible and this is the second factor that perpetuates poverty. It is the internal or psychological-spiritual factor. Poverty is a lack of hope based on the lack of any sense of personal rights and personal potential. Most people living in poverty believe they have no rights and no potential to be anything other than what they are. This is the first thing that must change. People in poverty must learn that they do have rights, that they do have potential, that they can be productive contributors to society and most of all that they are children of God called to be agents of change in the world. This again takes lots of time, lots of love and care and lots of commitment.
During our trip to Kanpur, we visited a number of World Vision’s ‘Area Development Programs’, which are funded through child sponsorship. After a couple of days it became evident to me that my expectations about how sponsorship money should be used had been shaped by an individualistic way of thinking only possible in the prosperous culture in which I live. I felt ashamed of ever having pestered the patient workers at World Vision with my ‘does the money get to the child’ interrogation. When I saw the amazing impact they were having on the lives of the sponsor children I vowed to let the experts do their job.
You cannot help a child in isolation. If you want to change the life of a child you have to transform the world in which they live – their family, community and local area. You have to create stable family environments; educate adults as well as their children; provide the local area with appropriate infrastructure and lobby local governments to improve education and address injustices. In Kanpur I saw remarkable changes are being made on every level. I was amazed at the extent of the transformation that had been effected in the communities that we went to after a relatively short time."- Matt Jacoby, Sons of Korah