How I became a World Vision child sponsor again

by Clarice Fong

I first signed up to be a World Vision child sponsor in 2013. I don’t quite remember how I signed up – it might have been on a random weekend at a mall. I was assigned a child who was already in high school.

I was a child sponsor for a little over a year, until the child graduated. After that, I decided to discontinue sponsorship because of my changing circumstances. I would still donate to World Vision campaigns, but it wasn’t until 2021 that I decided to become a child sponsor again. The reason was simple – I had recently begun collaborating with World Vision as an external consultant, working on different communications projects. Through my work, I saw and read a lot more of what World Vision was doing in different communities.

It took the #GirlsCan campaign to make me look into sponsorship again, after a long break. I needed to check the landing page and study the communication materials for a content refresh. I wanted to understand the process of signing up as a sponsor on the web page. Before I knew it, I was watching a video of a cute 8-year-old who wanted to be a chef. I signed up as a sponsor right that moment, even when I knew that the child is already 12 years old (and probably looks older). There was something about the optimism and energy of a young girl who had dreams that made me think – let’s do this. After all, if anyone should be a World Vision child sponsor, it should be someone who actually reads and writes about sponsorship (i.e. me).

Child sponsorship is a little different for me this time around. In the past, I didn’t really correspond a lot with my sponsored child. Today, I send letters or notes every few weeks. I’m more invested and involved, maybe because I actually read about the difference child sponsorship makes. To a random stranger, you may just be another person who decided to give to a good cause. But to your sponsored child, you are the one helping make their dreams come true. Reading personal testimonies made a difference in my perspective.

They say sponsorship is a long-term commitment, and it is. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. My first sponsorship journey lasted 18 months. This time around, I expect to be a sponsor for at least four years, until my new sponsored child graduates. People often prefer to sponsor younger, cuter kids. Sometimes this means older kids get passed over. Sadly, a few lose financial support because someone couldn’t continue being their sponsor. The reality of child sponsorship is that it’s really dependent on the commitment of someone else. Some get sponsored from a young age all the way to graduation. Others don’t.

Early on, I decided that I will support whoever needs me. I feel that my role is to fill a gap and help older kids get across the finish line. I find this personally rewarding because even if I didn’t get to start the journey with them, I actually get to see them complete their studies. Helping a child finish school makes me believe that they will get a better chance at life afterward. In some way, I helped break the cycle of poverty for one family. And that makes being a sponsor more than worthwhile.

If you’re on the fence about being a child sponsor, I want to assure you that it’s a decision you will not regret. Giving a child a better chance at life – and having a chance to see them succeed – is priceless.