Child Sponsorship: what’s it all about?

Give a child a better future by helping to meet community needs with long-term solutions

Sponsor a child

How does Child Sponsorship work?

Our Child Sponsorship program helps children living in disadvantaged regions escape poverty by financially supplementing the communities in which they live.

Using your donations, we identify the causes of the child’s poverty and vulnerability, and we create development projects designed to address them.

We work with local families, community groups, and governments to break the cycle of poverty and create long-term change.

All children in the community benefit from improved healthcare, education, water sanitation and food.

As a child sponsor, you’ll get:

  1. a folder containing your sponsored child’s photo and personal details, information about your sponsored child’s community, and more
  2. access to My World Vision, where you can view photo and video updates about your child sponsorship and update your personal details
  3. annual progress reports showing the health and educational status of your sponsored child, and the achievements the community has made with your support
  4. regular editions of the World Vision Magazine and the option to receive World Vision News Online
  5. a personal connection with your sponsored child through letters, e-letters, cards and photos

You can pay by cheque, money order, or credit card. There are options for contributing monthly, quarterly, or annually.

We encourage automatic credit card or bank account deductions, since it’s easy and reliable.

For detailed information, you can check out our annual reports.

Sponsors receive an annual tax receipt detailing all their donations in the past financial year. To save costs we don’t issue receipts for individual payments unless requested.

Sponsorship payments may be tax deductible depending on your personal tax position.

We work with community representatives to identify the areas of greatest need and the community then chooses children from those areas for sponsorship.

Participation in all World Vision programs is voluntary, and sponsored children and their families choose to be a part of the program. We always respect the rights of families to make decisions about this.

We work with community representatives to identify areas that have the greatest need.

Afterwards, the decision to commence a sponsorship program is made with the communities. An assessment is carried out by local World Vision staff alongside community representatives, local authorities and other non-government organisations in the area.

Before we commence a sponsorship program, the following things must be in place:

  1. community understanding and commitment to the program
  2. a basic level of security and stability in the community
  3. access to remote parts of the community and basic communications so that we can regularly visit and monitor children’s wellbeing

Yes. World Vision assigns only one sponsor per sponsored child.

World Vision works in some of the poorest countries in the world where the need for help is greatest.

The four regions in which we work are Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East, Eastern Europe & Central Asia.

We also support the World Vision Partnership’s global operations, including the cost of technical experts who oversee and coordinate disaster relief, development and international advocacy activities across the globe. To read more about how we work through the World Vision Partnership, see our Annual Report.

World Vision also works with indigenous communities in Australia. 

See a full list of countries where World Vision operates here.

You and your sponsored child

Most sponsored children love to receive letters and cards from their sponsors. It can be a great source of encouragement for them to know that someone far away cares about them and their future.

There are three ways to correspond and build a connection with your sponsored child:

  1. Send a greeting card or letter supplied by World Vision:
    Three times a year we’ll provide you with the opportunity to send them a card or letter—at Christmas, for their birthday and a general letter.
  2. Send an eLetter to your sponsored child:
    You can also send an eLetter via the My World Vision website. Due to technological limitations in your sponsored child’s country, once the email arrives in the local World Vision office, it’ll be printed and hand-delivered.
  3. Write a letter or card and post it to your sponsored child:
    Many sponsors send a letter, card or postcard directly to their sponsored child's country. You can do this any time. Information and guidelines on writing to your sponsored child can be viewed here.

That’s up to you, just as long as you follow our guidelines.

You can find our guidelines (and some ideas if you get stuck) here.

We don’t encourage connecting with your sponsored child through social media.

We want you to communicate and connect with your sponsored child, however, doing so through social networking sites such as Facebook can pose a number of problems:

  1. It may pose a risk to the child’s safety.
  2. It can put you and your sponsored child in a difficult position—people may pressure your sponsored child to ask for gifts, money, or other favours.
  3. Others might access your sponsored child’s account, which would put your correspondence and personal details out of our control.
  4. Even with good intentions, language and cultural differences can (and have) led to inappropriate communication.

If you are contacted through a social media site, please do not respond. Call us on 13 32 40 and we can follow up with the sponsored child and community, educating them of the risks involved in communicating this way and why we use channels such as letters and e-letters.

Please don’t send parcels or large gifts to your sponsored child.

  1. World Vision’s office in your sponsored child’s country cannot pay the customs or delivery costs
  2. Gifts can cause tension amongst family and community members
  3. No matter how well meant, your gift may be inappropriate, culturally or otherwise
  4. The item could easily be stolen in the mail

For more information, visit our Send a Gift policy.

We ask that you don’t send money to your sponsored child:

  1. Sending money to an individual child and/or their family does not contribute to the long-term development goals of the sponsorship program.
  2. Our field offices are not equipped to handle funds sent to them directly from sponsors.
  3. As with gifts, it may cause tension amongst family and community members.
  4. In some countries it is against the law to receive and send foreign currency.

Yes, many sponsors add visiting their sponsored child to their overseas trip plans. They say it’s a rewarding way to see firsthand how contributions are helping make a difference.

If you’d like to visit your sponsored child:

  1. You must email us or call 13 32 40 at least three months before your intended departure date and before you make any travel bookings. It takes time to arrange a sponsor visit with the local World Vision office and remote communities.
  2. World Vision is committed to protecting the safety and wellbeing of children, families and communities with whom we work. You will be required to undergo a criminal record check  and sign a field trip agreement before your visit can be confirmed.
  3. Once we have confirmed your visit, we will arrange for a local World Vision staff member to accompany you and act as an interpreter on the day of your visit. You will need to meet your own expenses in relation to the visit.

Unfortunately, World Vision doesn’t facilitate bringing sponsored children to Australia for visits.

Our focus is on helping the communities your sponsored child is a part of. As such, our priorities are dependent on keeping that community together and strengthening it.

No, World Vision does not organise adoptions, and sponsored children are not available for adoption through other parties either.

We believe your help to improve the wellbeing of children in their own communities has deeper value than removing them from those communities altogether.

If a sponsored child leaves the community, we try to tell supporters, but we cannot stop a child from moving.

Sponsored children and their families can decide to move out of the sponsorship area for a range of different reasons. Generally, this decision is made to positively benefit the child’s family, and is made with a great deal of care and consideration.

If you want to continue the good work your sponsorship has already done, you can continue to sponsor another child in the same community and keep helping World Vision’s work.

Ironing out the details

My World Vision is a personalised online account that lets you view photos and videos of your sponsored child and their community. You can also send an eLetter to your sponsored child or update your personal details. Login or register for My World Vision

Child Sponsorship takes a far more long-term and holistic approach, and helps lift entire communities out of poverty by addressing multiple needs.

Child Rescue offers children living in crisis crucial and life changing support, but it is also quite specific in its reach. Read more about Child Rescue

When a community is stable and productive it can provide for its children’s long-term wellbeing; the most effective way to improve children’s wellbeing is to strengthen their community’s ability to provide for it.

The wellbeing of a child is dependent on their families and community and in order to thrive, children need to grow up in an environment that provides the essentials for today together with hope and opportunity for the future.

Ideally, Child Sponsorship is a long-term commitment lasting for the duration of our work in a particular community, which typically lasts for 10-15 years.

But how long child sponsorship lasts will be different for each sponsor. Some sponsors join us at the beginning of our work in their sponsored child’s community and others join us towards the end.

Sponsorship can end for a number of reasons. These include:

  1. Our work in a community is completed.
  2. Your sponsored child finished school or began to earn an income.
  3. Your sponsored child’s family moved away from the community in which World Vision is working.

Whatever the reason, we’ll notify you when your sponsorship comes to an end. At that time, we can discuss how you can continue your sponsorship with another child.

When a sponsorship program ends, it’s because the community has reached a point where they can continue the development work we began together on their own. In most cases, committees made up of local people are set up to monitor progress and oversee ongoing development work.

The ultimate goal of child sponsorship is self-sufficiency. When this has been achieved, World Vision moves on to help another community in need.

Through our sponsorship programs, children and adults gain knowledge and skills which stay with them long after World Vision has gone, and for generations to come.

While we are motivated by our Christian values and faith, at World Vision we recognise that many people in the world do not share our beliefs. It is not our goal to convert anyone through our work, and we never seek to do so.

The primary focus our work is addressing the immediate and long-term development needs of communities, particularly the most vulnerable. We respond to these needs regardless of the religion or beliefs of a community or of individual community members.

As we do work in partnership with communities, depending on specific circumstances we may partner with local faith-based groups and encourage their participation in the development process.  

You can cancel at any time, for any reason.

We encourage sponsors to view sponsorship as a long-term partnership, but we understand that people’s circumstances change over time.

If you need to cancel your sponsorship, just call us on 13 32 40 to get the process started. 

If you don’t want to cancel, but would like to adjust your donations, we have flexible options to suit your needs.

If, however, none of these adjustments work for you and you need to cancel, we’ll ensure your sponsored child is made available for sponsorship by somebody else.