Activism:Mookychicks want to make a difference, be it to 1 or 1,000 people. Good news! We can take the ‘1 person’ part literally with child sponsorship.
Making a difference isn’t always about standing on rooftops making a speech to millions of people. Sometimes it can come in the guise of helping one person at a time, especially if this person is a child in a poor country, whose family can’t afford basic things like food or elementary education.
This is where child sponsorship comes in. The premise is this: for a monthly amount that won’t hurt your finances too much, you can help a child and, in return, you’ll get letters and photographs detailing their progress. Some programmes even ask you to be a ”big sister” of sorts, and find you a child who they think would be inspired by your singular mookiness!
Some may think “heck, there are millions of children who need help. What difference does it make?” but put it this way: To this one child, you may be the reason for many, many smiles. You may not be able to afford giving food to millions of people, but you can afford helping someone. So why not?
As a child sponsor, how do I know where my money goes?
Not all websites are trusthworthy, obviously. These child sponsor tips will help you sift through all the hits your Google search returned, and make sure you’re not buying anyone’s next Ferrarri.
Look around the child sponsor website. Does it look kosher? Or treif?*
It doesn’t have to be a complex flash site full of widgets and perks, because most of the time these sites are made by volunteers who do the best they can (and if you eventually ask, they might let you show off those mad skills of yours). Read what the site has to say carefully, even parts you might not be interested in. There should be details telling you what percentage goes to the child (ideally between 80%-100%, depending on their policies about administration costs), some accounting logs, activity reports and similar.
*Random Mooky fact of the day: Most people know what kosher means. But did you know that the opposite of kosher is ‘treif’ – meaning ‘forbidden’ or ”not suitable for use’? What a useful little word…
Got questions? Contact the site
Try contacting them with any questions you may have beforehand and always read FAQs. This was how I found out that some charities I was considering were too impersonal.
Charity lists and rankings are your best friends
There are many third-party articles reviewing and comparing different charities. Check out the reviews and see what other people are saying.
Other child sponsors are also your best friends
On personal blogs or messageboards you’ll often find different people giving different and very subjective opinions. Make sure they seem legit, and not ‘puppets’, and compare these reviews. Take everything you read with a grain of salt, but keep in mind that their personal aspect is what makes them invaluable. Someone’s concerns might be your concerns, and their priorities your priorities.
How do I find the right child sponsor programme for me?
Whether you want the child to have a certain type of religious education or to be located in a part of the world you connect with particularly, here are some aspects to consider.
Are you relaxed or disciplined about your religion, if you have one? Many programmes are not religious at all, while others make sure your child learns their prayers. I’m not a religious person, so I chose the former, but whichever is your leaning, this might be an important aspect to avoid or embrace.
Do you have any regional preferences? Perhaps your family is originally from Bolivia and you’d like to sponsor a child who lives there, or maybe you have always wanted to learn about Tanzanian cultures. If you have no preference, it is fine as well, and you might be surprised!
How much contact do you want to have with your child? Some programmes just send you the basic letters and photographs and ask that you stick to the basics yourself. Others may make communication an essential part of sponsorship, and you take on the role of a friend or big sibling. The policies on presents may vary, too, but this often depends mostly on postal services and customs (also, be reasonable. Maybe send them clothes they need instead of fifty different pairs of heart-shaped sunglasses).
Do you want to choose or be chosen? Sometimes you may select the child from a small gallery, sorting by age, gender, and location. However, if you cannot choose from all those adorable kids, you can be assigned to whichever child is in more urgent need of sponsorship. You may even be asked to write something about yourself, and be matched according to whoever could benefit from your influence (a bit like a ‘big sister’ thing!). Again, different programmes have different policies.
Does the site seem concerned for the child’s privacy and welfare? It may seem to you like it’s inconvenient that you can’t immediately access all their information, or that sometimes you may have to arrange in advance to visit your child. It may even irk you that someone will be reading your e-mails and letters to your child, even if they don’t have to translate them. But usually, this is for the child’s privacy! There are many people out there who might not mean as well as you do. Note that this isn’t necessarily keeping you from getting some information on where your donations are being spent, and is simply keeping the kids safe. Transparency is encouraged, but just probably not the child’s home address.
Check for details that might be important. Read about the activities, the places, the people. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions! Better to speak out now even if you think your questions are silly than to find yourself in a difficult position later.