Our Child Sponsorship program is a great way to connect with individuals and make a difference across the globe, and so much more! Child sponsorship begins with meeting an immediate need, but it also challenges our own perceptions and reminds us we are all brothers and sisters in Christ in need of His grace amidst our own brokenness. Our Child Sponsorship program relies on compassionate and committed individuals becoming strong advocates for vulnerable children by taking an active role in their lives. This month we are sharing our heart behind our Child Sponsorship program.
What is Child Sponsorship, really?
Child Sponsorship helps provide life changing opportunities for a vulnerable child and brings hope to their community! It’s a growing, global community deeply dedicated to giving vulnerable children a thriving, Christ-centered future. Sozo Children is committed to tailoring everything we do to the best interests of each child under our care based on their individual needs. We collaborate with the Ugandan government to offer support for children who may have experienced abuse, trafficking, abandonment, neglect, death of a parent, or extreme poverty.
Why sponsor a child?
You will have the opportunity to impact a child’s life and their entire family forever! You help them attain quality education and gain access to necessary medication and proper nutrition. Most importantly, through Sozo’s continuum of care, our children will learn more about Jesus and that they are created in His image with a unique purpose for their future.
But sponsorship is not only about how you can change a child’s life. It is also about changing your life. It is easy to look at a vulnerable child in Uganda and see the need to help. We challenge our sponsors to look beyond the physical needs of a child, and seek to understand the nuances of God’s hand in their own life. To challenge their own perceptions about poverty, giving, and healthy boundaries for sponsorship. Sponsorship starts with learning about the child, but sponsorship is really about learning about ourselves, and learning to bear one another’s burdens. This is the difference between a one-way giving, transactional relationship and creating a life-giving, Christ-centered relationship.
What is the role of a sponsor?
You are an advocate for your sponsor child! Your role goes beyond a financial commitment to provide support to also consistently praying for and encouraging your sponsor child. You will likely be called “Auntie” or “Uncle” by the child you sponsor, because that is truly how they see you. Rather than taking the role of a parent figure in their lives through sponsorship, you are standing with pastors, social workers, parents, family and friends who are taking an active role in encouraging and developing the child.
How do children feel about having a sponsor?
Knowing someone believes in them gives the children hope. They feel loved and blessed to have been given the opportunity for a quality education. The children also feel a deep longing to know their sponsors more. When sponsors share details about their own lives such as graduating from college, getting married, getting a new job, or even struggles such as illness, losing a family member, etc., the children join in celebration or join in prayer. Building Christ-centered and authentic relationships is the beauty of sponsorship through Sozo Children.
Does sponsorship really work?
Absolutely! It’s evident based on an educational perspective alone with our college and vocational graduates. In Uganda*, only 41% of children advance from primary to secondary school (high school equivalent). As a child sponsored through Sozo Children, 100% of children advance to secondary school or trade school. Beyond that, we are proud to share we have five University graduates and one who has completed his Master’s degree! There have been eight children who have graduated from trade schools ranging from mechanical, plumbing, fashion, culinary & music degrees. We have 15 children currently in University & six in vocation school. The evidence of how sponsorship works is when these children return to their communities to become difference makers in the lives of others!
How do children become sponsored through Sozo Children?
Several factors including abuse, trafficking, abandonment, neglect, “runaways”, death of a parent, extreme poverty or life-threatening medical needs lead to a vulnerable child being brought to Sozo Children’s care. Children are either matched with Sozo Children by Ugandan government officials or are brought under Sozo Children’s care for emergency placement based on the assessment of our child development team in Uganda.
How long do sponsorships last?
Children never “age out” of our sponsorship program and are always considered part of our Sozo family, regardless of their age. We pray sponsors will commit to at least two years of uninterrupted sponsorship, but sponsorships last the duration of the child’s educational career! Many of our children aspire to attain a college degree or even a masters degree, and some aspire to learn a trade and own a small business. We want sponsors to walk with a child every step of the way to independence, paving the way to their thriving future and sustainable growth in Uganda.
How many sponsors does each child have?
We believe it takes a village to raise a child and every child seeks to have unique relationships with each sponsor—keeping it to only 8 sponsors or less per child allows for these types of relationships to form. On average, each child has four sponsors, but can have up to eight.
Do all sponsored children live in a Sozo Children’s home?
Depending on their need, a child may receive Total Support sponsorship where they live in family-style children’s homes on Sozo Children’s land with one caregiver and up to seven “Sozo siblings.” Children may also remain living with their biological families and receive Family Support sponsorship in order to go to school, receive medical care, and participate in discipleship opportunities. Family Support sponsorship enables families to stay together and allows parents to provide for all other basic needs of their children. In both circumstances, children are able to thrive through the support of their sponsors and are under the care of Sozo’s child development team in Uganda.
What are ways the children feel supported and encouraged by sponsors?
The children love to receive letters from their sponsors and will keep them in a special place because they are so important to them. They also love putting a face to a name through video chats—being able to hear your encouraging words! But ultimately prayer is the most impactful way to support a Sozo child! We encourage sponsors to ask the children how they can be praying for them and stay updated on their prayer requests to see how the Lord is working in their lives. The children pray every day for their sponsors and truly feel the prayers you in turn say for them! Through Christ, sponsors make a way for our children to have a promising future.
How does child sponsorship impact Sozo’s child development goals?
Our vision is to see All Children Thriving, All Communities Transformed. Through our sponsorship program, children receive not only the necessity of proper nutrition and medical care, they are provided a quality education which leads to them acquiring better jobs—helping to break the cycle of poverty. Sponsorship gives empowers the children with skills, education, emotional support & spiritual development, preparing them for a thriving future where they can impact their communities and country for the glory of God.
What happens when I decide to become a sponsor?
About 10 days after you begin sponsoring a child, you’ll receive a welcome packet with everything you need to begin your sponsor relationship. This includes a photo and brief information about your child, helpful letter writing tips, and other resources. Similarly, the child you sponsor will receive a postcard announcing you are now sponsoring them!
How do I become a sponsor?
Begin your sponsorship online at sozochildren.org/sponsorship or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We currently have 29 sponsorship segment opportunities available for 17 of our children. Start something wonderful today!
* Uganda Bureau of Statistics. EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR POPULATION TRANSFORMATION. November 2017. https://www.ubos.org/wpcontent/uploads/publications/03_2018Education_Monograph_Report_Final_08-12-2017.pdf. Accessed July 19, 2019.