STONEY CREEK, ON — For the world’s poorest children, one thing increases their chances of graduating from university by up to 80% — being sponsored by someone in North America or other Western country.
A new report (https://www.gfa.ca/sponsor) says research conducted in six developing countries around the world over a two-year period suggests the sponsor-a-child model adopted by many leading nonprofit organizations makes “significant impacts” on sponsored children’s education, health, well-being, and aspirations.
Researchers from the University of San Francisco (USF) and University of Minnesota found sponsored children in South Asia, Africa and Latin America stayed in school longer, were much more likely to complete high school, and were 50-80% more likely to graduate from university, says global mission agency GFA World (www.gfa.ca).
“When children in abject poverty have no prospect of going to school, their dreams are crushed and they have no hope of escaping the generational poverty trap,” said GFA World founder K.P. Yohannan, also known as Metropolitan Yohan.
Child sponsorship “provides the opportunity to go to school, receive basic healthcare, and have clean water–meeting whatever needs the child’s community might have,” he said. “It turns utter despair to remarkable hope. Many sponsored children grow up to be teachers, nurses, and even doctors.”
Sponsored children — most of them supported by donors in the U.S., Canada and other Western countries — show “higher levels of self-esteem, aspirations and self-expectations, and lower levels of hopelessness,” says the report titled Child Sponsorship Helps Lift the Young Out of Cycle of Poverty (http://www.gfa.ca/sponsor).
For thousands of children — like Bir, a boy who used to scavenge in trash piles to survive, and Divena, a five-year-old girl abandoned by her mother — when a sponsor steps up it speaks to their hearts, showing them “they’re created for a higher purpose and that God really loves them,” Yohannan said.
GFA World donors have helped support 142,000 children across South Asia and Africa, and the organization aims to sponsor 500,000 children worldwide by 2030.
“Millions of children living on the streets and in slums today is truly heart-breaking,” said Yohannan. “We must rescue them and give them hope in Christ’s name.”