When Tara Lamerton started working at Baptist World Aid Australia in 2010, the Child Sponsorship program was changing in response to community needs. She now leads a team of five as they serve faithful monthly supporters.
I spoke to Tara about what makes Baptist World Aid’s Child Sponsorship program unique and why now is a particularly critical time for children around the world.
How would you describe Baptist World Aid’s Child Sponsorship programs?
Tara: Children are so important to God. In Mark 10, Jesus called them into his presence and declared that the Kingdom of God belongs to them. So Child Sponsors reflect God’s love and provide opportunities for children to overcome the injustice of poverty.
Our Christian partner organisations run Child and Youth Clubs in several countries, providing opportunities for children to build leadership and communication skills, learn about their rights, and participate in events. These Clubs become platforms for children to take action on issues such as combatting violence against children, early marriage and health awareness during COVID-19.
What’s also exciting is that families are supported through workshops on income generation, agricultural or child rights training, putting the future in their hands. Our partners address the challenges whole communities face. And we see this support of children first kickstart long-term community-led transformation, not create dependency.
Why do you think now is such an important time to support children?
Tara: Children growing up in poverty, who are already vulnerable, are being marginalized even further because of COVID. My colleagues recently surveyed almost 1,000 children in six countries. COVID has made life harder for children in poverty and experts suggest its impact is going to be felt for years to come. Many can’t go to school, don’t have enough food and face increased risks of trafficking, child marriage and trauma—because their families have been pushed into extreme poverty (living on $1.95 a day).
COVID has made life harder for children in poverty and experts suggest its impact is going to be felt for years to come.
Thankfully, our sponsors across Australia are having a huge impact on children and their communities throughout the world, which will continue to help them in the coming years. They’re part of a movement creating a better world of God’s children!
Given all that’s happening around the world with COVID, it can sometimes be tough to keep perspective. What keeps you motivated?
Tara: Our supporters! They believe we can make the world better, together, and their generosity shows it. Our local partners overseas also inspire me in their faithfulness during this difficult time, sharing amazing stories.
For instance, while the pandemic robs millions of children of education, our Christian partner in Cambodia helped nine-year old Choum continue learning at home.
When I look at the photo of Choum in her reading corner, I think of my own children and the books they love. It speaks of a flourishing childhood, where children are free to dream of the future. Their stories keep me grounded and inspired every day.
To become a Child Sponsor today and support children like Choum, visit our sponsorship page.