Before deciding to sponsor a child through World Vision, 23-year-old Charlotte Bleeker bought a latte everyday on her way to work, ate out three to four times a week, and had her nails done on a regular basis.

“It’s not that they’re bad things, they’re just unnecessary. I have a coffee pot at home, food in my pantry, and am fully capable of painting my own nails,” Bleeeker said.

In 2013, Bleeker attended a local Christmas concert in which representatives from an organization called World Vision were there with pictures of children from around the world who needed to be sponsored. Bleeker saw the picture that is now on her fridge of four-year-old Eva from Zambia, and could not resist becoming her sponsor. Sponsorship entailed a monthly payment of $40 to allow Eva to go to school and buy necessities.

Bleeker’s mom immediately questioned her decision, urging her to save money to pay off loans and invest in her future. “You need to be more stable financially before you start sponsoring a child,” her mom would say.

What Bleeker’s mom was unable to foresee was that sponsoring a child was the best possible decision for Bleeker in making wise financial decisions.

“All of a sudden I was questioning the things that I used to instinctively spend money on,” Bleeker stated. Eva, halfway across the globe, was teaching Bleeker to appreciate and save her money for the first time.

“My parents always stressed the importance of saving my money, but because I had never experienced a lack of money I didn’t necessarily value it,” Bleeker admitted. Now when contemplating whether or not to stop at Starbucks in the morning, Bleeker thinks of Eva and how much additional money beyond the $40 will help her and easily resists the latte.

Bleeker is also able to write letters to Eva on the World Vision website as often as she likes.

“Sometimes I won’t hear back from her for months, it’s a process for them to get the letters to her but they always do and she always replies, thanking me numerous times in every letter. I feel like I should be thanking her for opening my eyes,” Bleeker expressed.

In addition to letters from Eva, Bleeker also receives reports courtesy of World Vision describing Eva’s progress as well as development in her community. In these reports, sponsors also receive an updated photo of their sponsored child.

Along with Eva, World Vision assists 100 million people in 100 countries today. For Bleeker it was not a matter of not having enough money to sponsor Eva but rather whether or not she was willing to give certain things up. For Bleeker, it means less dining out and more cooking.

“Eva has inspired me to be a better cook!” Bleeker proclaimed. Sponsoring Eva has enriched Bleeker’s life and given her a greater sense of purpose.

Americans hear countless stories of how sponsored children progress and thrive because of organizations like World Vision, but must also acknowledge the progress and growth that occurs when we put others before ourselves.

-Heather Klosterman

Sources: World Vision
Photo: World Vision

When people ask how to help the poor, child sponsorship often is suggested. Indeed, for a small amount of money each month, organizations allow individuals to sponsor a child and help to provide education, food, and clothing for them. In return, the sponsors get a picture of the child and quarterly or annual updates from the organization regarding their child.  It has long seemed like an easy way to make an impact. The question many people ask, however, is does it really work? One development economist decided he was going to find out.

It seemed no one had ever been interested in finding the answer despite the fact that 9 million children are sponsored worldwide and more than $5 billion dollars per year is invested in child sponsorship programs. For organizations, obviously the stakes were high. If they allowed researchers to study the effectiveness of their programs, what would they do if they came back ineffective? After several years, one organization decided to allow themselves to be studied under one condition: anonymity.

The study initially looked at individuals in Uganda, studying 809 individuals including 188 who were sponsored as children. The results from the first study were any economist’s dream. The data clearly showed large and statistically significant impacts on the educational outcomes of sponsored children. It appeared the program was actually working! To solidify the results, the study was conducted in six other countries: Uganda, Guatemala, the Philippines, India, Kenya and Bolivia. Data was obtained on 10,144 individuals and the results were consistent with the first study. 27 to 40% more sponsored children complete secondary school and 50 to 80% more complete a college education. In addition to effects on education, the study found that sponsored children were also more likely to gain meaningful employment.

As a result of the study, the sponsorship organization removed the anonymity clause. Compassion International was the organization that allowed its program to be scrutinized; the results were clear that child sponsorship works. It helps lift kids and families out of poverty and provides them with hope. For more information about child sponsorship, visit Compassion International at

– Amanda Kloeppel
Sources: Christianity Today, Compassion International