We’ve all heard the stories of children in Haiti whose lives have been changed by sponsorship. Stories of the children from families who are unable to pay for school, but thanks to generous sponsors, now have the chance at a brighter future. It’s definitely heartwarming, but how do we know it really makes a difference?
I recently read two articles that discussed the impact of sponsorship. One of these articles discussed the far-reaching impact that sponsoring just one child can have on a family and community, as well as the impact that personal letters can have in the life of a child. The other article researched, quantitatively, the effect of sponsorship over a 12-year period. Both were excellent reminders of the impact of sponsorship!
Part I: The far-reaching impact of sponsorship and personal letters
Thanks to many of you, WWV currently has 250 children sponsored in schools in Williamson and Luly. According to one article by the CEO of Compassion International, the impact of sponsorship is far greater than just the 250 children who are sponsored. “That’s not just  kids that are impacted – that’s families that are impacted. So, you’ve got to at least quadruple that number to realize the impact you’re having. And then you really need to do it times five, because of the sponsors, as well. So at that point, you’re getting up to [1,250] people whose lives are going to be different because of sponsorship.”
The article goes on to say that the impact of sponsorship doesn’t end with those who have been sponsored! These 250 children being sponsored now opens the door for more children to be brought into the schools. As the cost of teachers’ salaries, hot school lunches and school supplies are covered by your donations, more children can begin school as they wait for sponsorship. The impact grows!
In a country like Haiti, this far-reaching impact can be even greater. It’s not uncommon for entire extended families to support one another in Haiti. One child who receives an education is then able to earn a good living, and support their other family members who may not have had this opportunity. Successful youth can help support parents, siblings, grandparents, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles. Even one sponsorship can help an extended family thrive instead of just survive. It’s a beautiful aspect of the Haitian culture – how well they care for one another. Sponsorship really does have a far-reaching impact!
This article also spoke to the impact that personal letters from sponsors can make in a child’s life. The writer said that, “The letters sponsors write to their children are the greatest form of encouragement… For many children, the first time they’ve been told that they’re loved is when “I love you” is penned in a sponsor letter. It’s not because their parents don’t love them – their parents love them very much, but it’s not something that is often said with words in that way. Sponsor letters are often filled with affirmation and prayer as the children are exhorted to stay in school and celebrate their worth and value through Christ. They’re saying, ‘Hey, we believe in you, we believe you can do this,’ and it’s [a] picture of God…”
Over the years I have had the opportunity to watch amazing connections and relationships formed between sponsors and their students. I also remember Jocelyn Benoit, a native Haitian and one of our WWV interns last summer, mentioning how amazing it would have been for him growing up in Haiti to have had the opportunity to meet and thank his sponsor. Many of the children in the WWV schools have had this opportunity, and we wanted to share some of these moments with you over the next couple months.
Personally, my family has had the amazing privilege of spending time with our sponsor student (Lolo) and his family through World Wide Village. It has really opened our eyes to God’s love for people of every nation. This beautiful family has been such a blessing to us. We are excited for our next trip in March, where our oldest daughter will have the opportunity to watch her goddaughter (Lolo’s baby sister) be dedicated at Pastor Joassiant’s church in Williamson. It really is more blessed to give than to receive! – Kim Anderson