Aiding Children through World Vision Birthday Celebrations
For many children, birthday parties are annual celebrations that children anticipate months in advance. But, for many children living in impoverished countries, a birthday celebration is a luxury uncommon to most. World Vision birthday celebrations work to change this and simultaneously eliminate global poverty.
Child Poverty is a Global Issue
When one thinks about aid for children living in poverty, thoughts go to efforts such as providing clean drinking water, administering vaccines, reforming education or other big-picture efforts. While these are all extremely necessary actions, recognizing the simple pleasures children of impoverished countries are deprived of can often be an afterthought.
Across the world, more than 700 million people live on less than $1.90 a day and children make up about half of this number. This means extreme poverty affects roughly 365 million children around the world. The total number of children living in poverty globally can fill up the National Football League’s largest stadium, the MetLife Stadium, more than 4,424 times. Child poverty is a significant issue, but according to UNICEF, few governments have declared child poverty a national priority. These millions of children live without access to basic needs such as education, health services, nutritional food and even clean drinking water.
Child Poverty Impacts Health in Adulthood
Not only does child poverty impact children’s health in the present time but it also can affect health during adulthood. According to a study by Dennis Raphael published in the National Library of Medicine, child poverty can increase the risk of noncommunicable diseases later in life. This refers to diseases that are not contagious but arise due to poor diet and lifestyle, for instance, cardiovascular diseases and Type 2 diabetes. This displays that child poverty has a far-reaching impact on a large part of the global population. Considering the severity of child poverty globally, World Vision addresses child poverty in several manners, such as through World Vision birthday celebrations.
World Vision’s Birthday Celebrations
World Vision is a global humanitarian organization focused on diminishing global poverty through donations from sponsors. It has worked to combat poverty since 1950, and, as of 2023, serves more than 3.5 million children in almost 100 different countries. World Vision implements programs that directly aid impoverished children, families and communities in the areas of health, education, clean water access, food and nutrition, child protection and more.
One of World Vision’s most interesting programs, funded by sponsors, is its annual communal birthday celebrations for struggling children in impoverished countries. The goal of these celebrations is to show impoverished children love and support while also giving sponsors the opportunity to meet the child they sponsor if they so wish. World Vision’s birthday celebrations host about 1 million attendees per year. Celebrations have taken place in Ecuador, Vietnam, Mexico, Ghana and Romania along with various other impoverished countries.
World Vision’s birthday celebrations consist of brightly colored balloons, dancing character animals, singing, games, sports and lots of cake. These celebrations provide a day full of laughter and joy, but also can bring families, and even communities, out of poverty.
The Far-Reaching Impacts of the Celebrations
Matthew Sakala, who was once also a sponsored child through World Vision, now runs World Vision sponsorship programs in Moyo, Zambia. In an interview with World Vision, he says he has personally seen growth in his community due to the resources provided through birthday celebrations and continuous donations from World Vision sponsors. Sakala speaks of various opportunities, such as a training base provided through sponsorship donations so community members could learn skills in plumbing, carpentry, baking and more. Birthday celebrations enable connection and fellowship between sponsors and residents, making donations all the more meaningful.
In addition to typical children’s birthday gifts, World Vision gifts, through the support of sponsors, including audiovisual equipment, educational tools such as books, games and backpacks and recreational supplies including basketball, soccer and volleyball equipment. Other necessities, such as blankets, bedding, computers and water purification systems, are also accounted for, depending on the needs of the community. These items all contribute to uplifting communities even after the celebration ends.
Recognizing the Simple Joys
World Vision’s effort to recognize the simple joy in a birthday party and the lack of these experiences for impoverished children has led to the creation of a unique and impactful program. World Vision birthday celebrations provide joy and care to impoverished children while also fostering opportunities for growth and poverty minimization in entire communities.
– Leah Smith