My family had consistently sponsored children for more than twenty years. It was just a simple way we knew for helping people living in poverty, particularly the most vulnerable people of all – children.

To be honest, during that time, I did not know much about what our monthly sponsorship pledge did. My family and I were leading our busy lives and simply putting our trust in the organisations through which we chose to sponsor.

Now that I think of it, this is probably not unusual.

In fact, it’s likely that a large proportion of people who sponsor children through various organisations, including Baptist World Aid, might not have a detailed understanding of how their Child Sponsorship is carried out on the ground. But because they understand the impact of helping children, youth, and wider communities to end poverty, they act out of faith and trust – just as I did for decades. How wonderful is their faithful support!

For generous Australians, Child Sponsorship is the most popular choice when it comes to their giving to end poverty. However, the rate of growth of Child Sponsorship in Australia is slowing significantly. Why is that the case?

When I started at Baptist World Aid, I was intrigued by this trend. Although we had (and still have) a diverse range of  programs to address poverty, a significant proportion of our programming linked Child Sponsorship giving to child and youth centred work in eight countries across Africa and Asia. Was this work still worthy and impactful? And, if it was, why was Child Sponsorship (relatively speaking) struggling, whilst other sources of support were growing?

Well, after seven years travelling the world and seeing these programs for myself, I am confident in telling you that your sponsorship makes a big difference!

I want to shout out that the technical work that we, and our partners, undertake is absolutely worth your trust and your long-term commitment. In fact, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recognises that the sum of our work, including our Child Sponsorship program, is among the best of its kind in Australia… and internationally!

We have exciting new plans to expand our child-centred work. Why? Because children are amazing agents of change. Children are less likely to be fearful, more likely to dream, and they are always ready to have a go!

Right now, we are in the process of reviewing the success of our Child Sponsorship program over the past seven years and we have exciting new plans to expand our child-centred work. Why? Because children and youth are amazing agents of change. Children are less likely to be fearful, more likely to dream, and they are always ready to have a go!

At Baptist World Aid, we believe that good stewardship involves regular reflection and review, but it’s hard to communicate the value and importance of things like rigour, planning, and process in terms of making real impact for families living in poverty. So, all I can say is this…

What we need, now, is to be even more deliberate about telling the incredible stories of transformation that your Child Sponsorship helps to achieve – not just for individual children but for whole communities as well.

And we could certainly use your help!

At Baptist World Aid, we are  committed to continuing to build our Child Sponsorship program so that we can connect more of our supporters to this incredible story. This Be Love Sponsorship Sunday, you can help us spread the word by sharing Shanto’s incredible story with your church family.

My prayer is that, together, we can inspire the passion of Baptists across Australia, to take a journey with these kids – to back them and encourage them. And become part of an incredible story as children like Shanto achieve massive change for the world.

Register to hold a Be Love Sponsorship Sunday at your church today. Go to baptistworldaid.org.au/be-love-Sunday.