Dr. Bruce Wydick, a professor of Economics and International studies at the University of San Francisco, revealed in his study that through TEAR Fund's partner Compassion International, Christian child sponsorship is not only effective but life-changing.
Along with his colleagues, Dr. Paul Glewwe and Laine Rutledge, Dr. Wydick spent two years researching six countries; Bolivia, Guatemala, India, Kenya, the Philippines and Uganda.
The team focused on: years of formal education, type of current employment, and community leadership positions, and found that children who participated in the child development sponsorship programme stayed in school longer, were more likely to have salaried or white-collar employment and were more likely to be leaders within their communities and churches than their peers who did not participate.
To give you some specific statistics it was found that formerly sponsored children stayed in school 1 to 1.5 years longer than their non-sponsored peers; were 27 to 40 per cent more likely to finish secondary education than those who were not enrolled in the Child Sponsorship Program; and were 50 to 80 per cent more likely to complete a university education than non-sponsored children.
The research also found that children formerly sponsored through Compassion were, as adults, 14 to 18 per cent more likely to have salaried employment than those who had not been not part of the programme; were, as adults, 40 to 70 per cent more likely to become church leaders than their non-sponsored peers; and were, as adults, 63 per cent more likely to become teachers than their non-sponsored peers.
Celebrating this news
As you can imagine child sponsorship organisations across the globe are celebrating this news.
"This is a particularly heartening study and underscores why, in the case of child sponsorship, TEAR Fund and Compassion choose to work directly with individual children in need," says Ian McInnes, TEAR Fund's CEO. "Locally-run child sponsorship programmes that invest in the lives of children over a number of years ensure these children do not fall through the cracks. They grow up better educated, healthier, more confident and spiritually connected."
"At ChildFund we hear of individual success stories, of former sponsored children becoming leaders, doctors and lawyers and this research shows just how wide ranging the impact is," says ChildFund New Zealand Chief Executive Paul Brown. "It confirms what sponsored children tell us; that not only is practical support important but the knowledge that someone far away cares about them and provides encouragement helps them believe in themselves and succeed."
In addition to the above research, Dr. Wydick's team conducted follow-up studies in Bolivia, Kenya and Indonesia. Although these studies were not be published as part of the original article in the Journal of Political Economy they nevertheless provide useful insight into the benefits of child sponsorship.
The purpose of the three studies was to "investigate whether adult life outcomes may have been shaped by Compassion's program focus on developing self-esteem and nurturing aspirations during childhood," and looked at children who are currently being sponsored through Compassion.
The studies were able to show that, in each of the countries, current Compassion-sponsored children had higher expectations regarding their education-level and the type of employment that would be open to them in the future, and were generally more hopeful than those who weren't sponsored.
TEAR Fund and Compassion have expanded their programmes since this research was conducted and hope that further developments will offer their sponsored children even more development and nurturing opportunities.
I would just like to take this moment to say thank you to the child sponsorship organisations across the globe and, of course, to those individuals who out aside some of their money to send across the world. You really are making a difference.
Gemma Margerison is an aspiring author from the North of England. Gemma worked in Auckland New Zealand in Christian journalism for almost three years and has returned home to the UK.
Gemma Margerison's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/gemma-margerison.html