June 25, 2013

Child sponsorship and hope

Christianity Today has a number of articles in their June 2013 edition about child sponsorship programs. The lead article touts research published in the Journal of Political Economy concerning the outcomes of child sponsorship. The supervising researcher, Bruce Wydick, notes of the initial study on kids in Uganda, "You could beat the data senseless, and it was incapable of showing anything other than extremely large and statistically significant impacts on educational outcomes for sponsored children" (22). Because the initial study was so promising, it was expanded to countries around the world. The results were the same. Wydick summarizes, "We're not just finding positive correlations, but substantial causal effects from the program--in every country--especially Africa." Simply, child sponsorship works. Especially for the poorest, but it works for everybody. Wess Stafford, the former president of Compassion International, the organization that was confident enough in what they were doing to open themselves up to this type of scrutiny (kudos to them for being willing to confirm their stewardship of our resources and of our God-given vision for bringing about change and relief to so many who need it!), says he attributes much of the improvement to one thing . . . hope. "The big difference that sponshorship makes," he reflects, "is that it expands children's views about their own possibilities. . . . We help them realize that they are each given special gifts from God to benefit their communities, and we try to help them develop aspirations for their future" (24). Compassion, hope, fulfilling basic needs, all permeated with the gospel of Jesus Christ. That's exciting stuff! So if you aren't already doing it, sponsor a child.