A few years ago I thought it was a great idea to sponsor a child in a third world country. My hopes were to choose a child whom my children could relate to so that my kids could develop empathy and compassion for people less fortunate than we are. I also hoped to obviously improve the living conditions and education for our sponsor child.
We sponsor a little girl in Uganda, who is the same age as my youngest daughter. My hopes were that through better education, this little girl would go on to give back to her community so that the whole village would eventually benefit from our charity.
Unfortunately, although this girl is now 11, all we receive from her are drawings of triangles, along with very basic information through a translator (that I’m not sure are her words). I’m afraid that my hopes are dashed of her growing up and helping the village and I truly don’t know how our sponsor child is actually benefitting at all from the hundreds of dollars we spend on her each year. My real fear is that the majority of the funds are actually going to marketing materials for the charity as I constantly receive propaganda to sponsor more children.
Not only hasn’t our sponsor child’s intellect seemed to develop, but neither has my children’s empathy for her situation. Although they are aware of this child, they show very little interest in her. I wanted my kids to be able to see the difference we are making in her life, but there doesn’t seem to be any improvement with her academically or socially. I had hoped they would develop a relationship of being able to be pen-pals to discuss the diversity of their lives, maybe to even meet one day in the future. This doesn’t seem like it will ever be the case, as it is difficult to correspond with her outside of the carbon copy communication forms that come from the charity.
So I’m at a crossroads. I’m paying to fund the sponsorship of a child that I’m not sure is benefitting from it and it hasn’t taught my kids any of the life lessons I had hoped to instill in them. Whilst I still feel sorry for the people living in third world countries, I think that maybe I should focus my donations on a local children’s hospital so that the money goes directly to the source and doesn’t get watered down by a charitable organisation.
Have you had a positive experience with sponsoring a child? It seems everyone I talk to has a similar tale to me!
(Photo courtesy of Africa, freedigitalphotos.net)