fight child povertyToday, about 385 million children worldwide live in extreme poverty according to UNICEF. These three organizations fight child poverty through child sponsorship programs. By pairing a child in poverty with a monthly financial donor, these programs work to ensure children receive necessary medical and educational resources to end the poverty cycle.

3 Organizations Fighting Child Poverty

  1. Restore Haiti: Restore Haiti is a non-profit that works to fight child poverty in Haiti. This organization was started in 2005 by Philip Peters and Gerald Lafleur after Peters visited Lafleur’s homeland of Haiti. Peters saw “the need and knew that the little [he] had and the resources [he] had were something that could be used, and a long-term commitment was born.” The organization focuses efforts on three main communities: Morne Oge, Matador and Carrefore.

    Morne Oge, the community where Restore Haiti began, partners with Restoration Ministries. Today, they serve over 700 elementary, secondary and university/trade school students and their families. Children in the sponsorship program receive meals, education and basic health needs through the help of a monthly donor.

    In Matador, Restore Haiti provides tuition assistance and one daily hot meal to students. They also plan to fund new, sanitary bathroom facilities and a satellite kitchen for the 240 children attending the elementary school.

    Carrefour began as a satellite program in 2014. Today, Restore Haiti assists with educational expenses and two meals a week to children. On their website, they note that “In the Carrefour community, many youths end up joining gangs and living troubled lives, so the food, education, and life skills being imparted to them are key to seeing change come to this community.” In addition to the school costs and meals, Restore Haiti’s community-based staff provides mentorship, training in life skills and character building to the children in Carrefour. 

  2. Compassion International, Inc.: This organization advocates for children and is the world’s leading authority in holistic child development through sponsorship. They were founded in 1952 when Reverend Everett Swanson flew to South Korea. He was there to minister to American troops but felt compelled to help the orphans there reach their full potential. Together, Compassion and local churches provide whole life care – holistic, comprehensive care to help children “fully develop and become responsible, fulfilled adults.”

    Children enrolled in Compassion programs are 27-40% more likely to complete a secondary education, and 20% more likely to have a higher income as an adult. Compassion aims to fight child poverty through a direct partnership between a child and the sponsor. This is done by cultivating a meaningful relationship between the sponsored child and the sponsor through letter writing and emails. In 2019, more than 2.1 million children were sponsored. Today, in addition to child sponsorships, Compassion provides mother and baby care and health resources. They also work to meet critical needs such as providing clean/sanitized water, treatment for HIV infection, access to medical treatment and disaster relief in their efforts to fight child poverty.

  3. World Vision: Started in 1950 when Bob Pierce helped one little girl, this organization now helps more than 3.5 million children in nearly 100 countries. They fight against child poverty through sponsorship programs, health and economic empowerment, child protection, disaster relief, education and food security. World Vision uses a child sponsorship program where a sponsor’s commitment helps the sponsored child and community overcome poverty. According to World Vision’s reports, “over a five-year period, 89% of the children who were severely malnourished in severe relief areas were treated and made a full recovery.” Typically, sponsorship lasts 10-15 years.

    World Vision’s work extends to the next generation of children. The organization’s influence in Bangladesh improved reading comprehension. Students who used the literacy programs measured at 68% reading comprehension compared to those not using the literacy program, who measured at 4% reading comprehension. In Zambia, moms located where this organization runs health and nutrition programs were six times more likely to receive healthcare designed to boost newborn survival compared to mothers in areas where these resources are not available.

    In addition to funding education and health needs for the sponsored child, funds go to make necessary changes in the community. World Vision meets with local community leaders and, after developing a plan, addresses things like “improving water, sanitation, health and nutrition, education and child protection.” The organization’s effects are lasting. Eight out of ten World Vision wells are still functioning at high levels in Ghana after being drilled nearly twenty years ago. The improvements made through World Vision’s child and community sponsorship programs provide the necessary health and educational experiences to fight child poverty.

– Danielle Beatty
Photo: Flickr

Samaritan's Purse
Samaritan’s Purse is an evangelical Christian humanitarian organization that seeks to provide relief for those in need around the world. The organization is named after the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible. The organization Samaritan’s Purse’s goal is to aid all those who are hurting, particularly the most vulnerable and impoverished people in the world.

Samaritan’s Purse was founded by Bob Pierce who also founded the relief organization, World Vision. After visiting the poor children on the Korean island of Kojedo, Pierce felt compelled to aid those that he met. He founded Samaritan’s Purse in 1970 with the mission to “to meet emergency needs in crisis areas through existing evangelical mission agencies and national churches.” Later Pierce met a young man named Franklin Graham. Traveling with Pierce all around the globe, Graham underwent life-changing experiences as he witnessed the world’s most destitute. When Bob Pierce passed away in 1978, Graham became the president and chairman of the Board of Samaritan’s purse. For 30 years, Graham has led the organization, overseeing responses to natural disasters, famines, and wars.

Today, Samaritan’s purse operates in 100 nations around the world with a number of programs. One important program is providing international crisis response. When disaster strikes, the organization works with local partners to provide immediate food, medicine, and shelter to victims. Pre-position supplies in warehouses located around the world are always ready to be used. Disaster Assistance Response teams are also always ready to be deployed. The organization works within the United States with its U.S. Disaster Response project and Operation Heal our Patriots, a program designed to aid wounded military service members and their families.

Samaritan’s Purse also provides aid for children. The Children’s Heart Project works with hospitals to provide surgery to children in impoverished areas or those that lack medical expertise. The Greta Home and Academy is a home for orphaned and at-risk youth in Haiti where they can receive care and education.

The organization is also well known for its program Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child provides Christmas gifts to children in disaster or poverty stricken areas. Anybody can volunteer to purchase toys, hygiene products, school supplies and clothes. Volunteers are encouraged to include personal notes and think carefully about what a child might want to receive as a gift. Instructions are provided online on how to properly pack the gifts in a shoebox and how they can be labeled and delivered to distribution centers.The shoeboxes are then distributed to children around the world.

More recently, Samaritan’s Purse has begun a fundraising campaign called “Raise A Village.” The campaign is dedicated to improving the living conditions in the Niger Village of Guidan Gado. To aid the impoverished villagers, the organization is trying to raise $85,000 to provide livestock, farming tools and food production equipment.

No matter the project, Samaritan’s Purse’s ultimate mission remains simple: to give aid selflessly as the Good Samaritan in the Bible did. Today the organization continues to give aid to thousands of people. With the support of a dedicated staff, donors and volunteers, the organization continues to make a difference in world.

– Grace Zhao

Sources: Samaritan’s Purse

World Vision 101
World Vision is Evangelical Christian advocacy, development, and relief organization. The organization is committed to working with families, children and communities to fight poverty and global injustice. Inspired by Christian values, and disregarding race, ethnicity or religious background, the organization seeks to reach out to the most vulnerable people.

World Vision has offices in approximately 100 countries. Each division exists under the umbrella of the Covenant of Partnership, which is a biblically based agreement that unites offices and allows them to serve together. Thus, the staff is made up of people from all different fields. Workers have skills that range from the technological fields such as hydrology, to business with a focus on microfinance and development. World Vision currently employs about 40,000 staff members with 97% of those workers working in their home nations.

Since the organization was founded by Bob Pierce in 1950, it has grown into one of the largest development and humanitarian aid organizations in the world. It has total revenue of around $2.79 billion that comes from grants, products and donations. In its earliest days, the organization cared for children of the Korean War through developing a child sponsorship program. As the children involved in the program began to improve and flourish, Pierce expanded his relief agency into other Asian countries, and then across the globe.

World Vision International was founded later in 1977. By then, the organization was focused on training families to build small farms through teaching agricultural skills. In doing so, World Vision began to construct long-term benefits in communities by promoting self-reliance.

Since the beginning of the decade, the organization has established food programs for 1 million Afghanis, waged a war against sex tourism in various countries, and helped stop the flow of conflict diamonds that fuel civil wars in Africa. In 2004, following the massive Tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean, World Vision and 3700 local staff responded with life-saving aid from donors all around the world. The aid enabled the construction of new homes, schools, and access to clean water, economic opportunities, and healthcare.

Today World Vision has turned its focus to the HIV/AIDS epidemic with the launch of the Hope Initiative in 2000. By sponsoring orphans and children in aids affected areas, the organization has been able to care for thousands of vulnerable individuals. Monthly contributions from various sponsors enable this organization to keep doing its work.

World Vision offers people 4 opportunities to get involved in the work they do. The first is to sponsor a child. The second is to give a meaningful gift. The organization provides dollar values for donating items such livestock, clothes and medicine. The third way would be to simply make a dollar donation. And the fourth method of helping World Vision is to make a micro-loan in order to sponsor new entrepreneurs.

– Grace Zhao

Sources: World Vision, Charity Navigator