It is natural to ask yourself: What difference am I going to make if I sponsor a child?
Better Quality of Life
In 2011, economists Wydick, Glewwe and Rutledge decided to answer the question: Do international child sponsorship work? They conducted an empirical study in 6 countries, surveying 10,144 individuals. Study results indicated that sponsored children:
- Benefitted from 2.4 additional years of formal education,
- Were more likely to be employed, and
- Were less likely to get married at an early age and become teen parents.
The study also found that formerly sponsored children had an overall better quality of life at adulthood, and were more likely to assume community leadership roles. A positive spillover effect was also found for many of these outcomes onto younger siblings and other community residents of the same age.
Increase in School Attendance
In 2011, researchers Barrera-Osorio, Bertrand, Linden and Perez-Calle conducted a rigorous study to compare the effects of three education-based sponsorship programs for at-risk children in Colombia. They wanted to find out which design is better:
- A standard monthly sponsorship program,
- A program that gives money only after children re-enroll in school, or
- A program that rewards school graduation?
Children enrolled in any of the programs showed a significant increase in school attendance. And the 2 non-standard programs significantly increased their enrollment rates in middle school and high school.
Emotional and Mental Health Benefits
A 2012 study conducted in Indonesia compared the self-esteem and aspirations of 286 sponsored children with those of 234 children without sponsors. The sponsored children had higher self-esteem and optimism than the non-sponsored group of the same age.
In 2011, Ross and Wydick surveyed 570 sponsored and un-sponsored children, ages 10 to 18 years, from three communities in Kenya to measure the impact of child sponsorship programs. The study found that sponsorship resulted in higher self-esteem and higher self-expectations for education and adult occupations, which in turn leads sponsored children to persist in school.
Lasting Effect and Positive Spillovers
A 2009 study conducted by Kremer, Miguel, and Thornton sought to answer the question: Do scholarship programs help students in developing nations? Their rigorously designed study focused on a group of girls enrolled in a scholarship program in Kenya.
- Participating girls showed substantially higher exam scores and improved attendance compared to the girls who did not participate in the program.
- The girls’ scores continued to rise even after the program was completed.
- Evidence suggested positive spillover effects, including higher test scores among boys who attended the same schools as the girls participating in the program.
- The program unexpectedly resulted in decreased teacher absenteeism rates in the participating schools.
Better Job Opportunities
In 2007, researchers Behrman, Parker and Todd investigated the long-term impacts of a school sponsorship program by surveying participants who had been enrolled in the program for five years. They found that participating youth:
- Were able to maintain high test scores and consistent school attendance.
- Started a career later than their peers, postponing working in favor of education.
- Were more likely to obtain a better job (non-agricultural) than their peers.
Now, the question you might need to answer for yourself is:
Do I want to make a difference by sponsoring a child?