Now that I've typed that headline, I realize you're all going to assume I'm pregnant. No, my super-duper hyper-exciting news is less personal than that. But it is news I've been waiting to talk about for about three years.
Dr. Bruce Wydick is a professor of Economics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco. He is a sponsor with Compassion and has a heart for helping other people. So he wondered, "What research has been done to show the impact of sponsorship?" The answer was nearly no in-depth research had been done on the topic, which is surprising because $3.2 billion goes to various sponsorship organizations each year!
So Dr. Wydick set out to study sponsorship. He intended to do a comparative study of various sponsorship organizations, but only one organization agreed to be studied - Compassion International. (Which isn't surprising only one agreed; it's scary to hand over your organization's good name to a secular, academic community.)
The results of his study, which have been many years in the making, will be published in this April's Journal of Political Economy. I had the chance of hearing Dr. Wydick speak about his research about three years ago. I was really impressed with the rigor, depth and balance of the research.
So you're probably wondering what the research showed.
“Children who participated in Compassion’s holistic child development through sponsorship program stayed in school longer, were more likely to have salaried or white-collar employment and were more likely to be leaders in their communities and churches than their peers who did not participate in the program.”
Compared to their unsponsored peers:
- They were 50 percent to 80 percent more likely to complete a university education.
- They were 14 percent to 18 percent more likely to have salaried employment as adults.
- They were about 35 percent more likely to secure white-collar employment.
- They were up to 75 percent more likely to become community leaders as adults.
- They were 40 percent to 70 percent more likely to become church leaders as adults.
If you want to read a little more in-depth about the results, you can read here. Or if you want to read the whole 44-page report by Dr. Wydick, you can read it here.
If you have sponsored children over the years with Compassion, you don't need to wonder if it made any difference in their lives. It does make a real and lasting difference. Your sacrifice and generosity have not been in vain.
And if you have been thinking of sponsoring a child...DO IT! You won't regret it, and it will make a huge difference in the life of a child who is living in conditions that are hard to imagine. It costs less than $1.25 a day to give a child opportunities that we take for granted, like the chance to go to school, to get health care, to eat nutritious meals, to learn skills to earn an income, to learn that they have value as individuals, and to learn about God's love from caring church workers in their local community.
If you're not sure where to start, if I were to sponsor a child today, I'd pick one from Bangladesh. Children in Bangladesh are some of the most malnourished in the world. Kids go to the Compassion center five to six times a week, so it makes a huge difference. Compassion Bangladesh also works with some of the most rejected people groups in the country - people whom others would consider untouchable. You can touch those children with your care and support! Bangladesh is also 89% Muslim, 9% Hindu and 0.3% Christian, so Compassion has a huge opportunity to share the gospel with people who would never otherwise hear it.
If you're not feeling Bangladesh, I'd sponsor a child in the slums of Kibera or Mathare in Nairobi, Kenya. Kibera and Mathare are two of the biggest slums in Nairobi and are very dark places for a child to grow up. Being sponsored means these kids get to escape the darkness of their surroundings and find a home at a local church. (You can call Compassion at 1-800-336-7676 and request a child from KE-916 in Kibera or KE-320 in Mathare.)
If you're not sure how long you can commit to sponsoring a child, why not start by sponsoring an older child in their teens? (You can search by age range on compassion.com.) Children typically graduate from the program around age 18 or 19 (or 22 in Kenya).
And while I'm on the topic...If you already sponsor a child and haven't written in awhile, go write your child! You don't have to say anything particularly witty or even very interesting. They'll just be SOOOOOOO excited to get a letter. Tell them you are proud of them. Tell them you think of them. And tell them you are praying for them.
OK. Soapbox over.