—Felix, sponsored child, Kenya
No child is an island. Kids grow best when their environment is safe, their community is healthy and their family is focused on them. Your support does more than give children’s well-being a boost. It strengthens relationships among children, their families, their teachers and everyone else around them. It helps under-resourced communities become stronger to weather the storms of life together. And it helps children, families and communities work against the injustices that keep a child from growing into her full potential.
If you could do one thing to make a real, lasting difference in the world, where would you start? At ChildFund, we believe that the best way to make change is to start at the beginning: with childhood.
Every child is a universe of potential. But around the world, poverty, violence, racism and other social ills rob children of the nurturing environment they need to grow into their fullest selves. In supporting children as they navigate the many challenges they face, we not only fuel their individual dreams, but we also join hands with them to build a better world. We find refreshed perspective to reimagine our relationships, seek creative solutions to our problems and create the robust connections that we, as a human family, need to survive.
Community development is a central part of how ChildFund collaborates to improve children’s well-being. This means that our programs for children are designed to involve many people in addressing the most urgent needs of their entire community. When a community becomes self-sufficient, we shift our support to one that is less so. Child by child, community by community, we cocreate societies where every kid can realize their right to grow up healthy, educated, skilled and safe.
ChildFund programs and services look different in each community where we work, but here are a few examples of how your support leads to lasting change for children and those around them.
Your decision to donate or to sponsor a child has a ripple effect that touches more people than you might imagine. Often, it creates lasting change that is felt across generations.
In the rural area where 24-year-old Rekha lives in the hilly Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, India, most of the population works in agriculture, and only 50 percent of women are literate. Rekha’s mom, Dhapu, is part of the other 50 percent.
After Rekha’s father left her family, Dhapu raised her three children alone. She worked as a farmer during the harvest season and as a daily wage worker in the off season, but the family still struggled to make ends meet.
But when Rekha was 6 years old, she got a sponsor – and support from ChildFund and our local partner, the Centre for Advanced Research & Development (CARD), helped her get her education. This was especially important because, according to Rekha, in her community educating girls is usually either looked down upon or not supported because of financial constraints.
“I was determined to succeed in education despite all hurdles, because I saw my mother suffer due to illiteracy,” Rekha says. “While my family’s financial conditions were never stable, the educational support I received – like textbooks, stationary and other things – encouraged me to continue to strive toward excellence … My educational progress has been possible because of the support and motivation by CARD and ChildFund, who supported my education inside and outside the classroom.”
Now, Rekha is on her way to building a better life for herself and her family. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2019 (with an A average, no less!) and immediately started studying for her entrance exam for her Bachelor of Education. Then COVID-19 struck.
Rekha’s community is particularly vulnerable to the risks of COVID-19 due to lack of awareness, a limited supply of clean water, low levels of nutrition and ill-equipped health centers and hospitals. When schools shut down, kids in her area had no way to get an education, so Rekha took it upon herself to make sure they could keep learning.
“I have started conducting classes for 30 children from my village at my house,” Rekha says, “so that the children don’t miss out on education. We all follow COVID-related precautions.” In addition to teaching the regular academic subjects, she also teaches her students about COVID-19 prevention methods and overall hygiene — and she does all this for free.
“I dream of extending the power of education to other children in my village,” Rekha says. It looks like she’s already starting to make that dream come true.
That’s the thing about sponsorship – it begins as a connection between one sponsor and one child, but the ripple effect that child can have on her community is incalculable. Think of the kids Rekha is teaching now, and the classrooms she will teach after she gets her teaching degree. Think of her children, and her students’ children. The generational impact of sponsorship is immeasurable, but we know it is immense.