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How Child Sponsorship Really Works

How Child Sponsorship Really Works

If you're considering sponsoring a child, you may be wondering: 
   • How does child sponsorship work? 
   • How long does sponsorship last? 
   • Does sponsorship really help make a difference?

If these are some of your questions, we'd like to answer them through the real-life story of a girl named Maggie, a Ugandan child sponsored through CARITAS For Children.

Does child sponsorship really help?

Maggie's story began similarly to that of so many other needyMaggie Nakibuule children. She was being raised by a single mother who worked every day to barely make enough money for the family to eat.

Maggie's childhood was being taken away from her as she had to be responsible for fetching water, helping to dig for food, and helping her mom to survive. School was completely out of the picture.

For a little peasant girl in this position, the future looks very bleak.

Without the security of daily meals, clean water, and basic medical care, she may not survive and reach adulthood. If she does, she may eventually find herself in extremely vulnerable situations, making desperate choices to ensure her own survival, working in menial labor positions, and maybe even continuing the cycle of poverty by becoming a single mother herself.

A sponsorship gives girls like Maggie a fighting chance to get out of the terrible situations they were born into. Through sponsorship, poor children no longer have to worry about having their basic needs met, and are able to focus on studying and succeeding at school. Sponsorship really helps by giving children this life-changing opportunity. By offering the chance to truly thrive in a stable school environment, child sponsorship opens doors to a world of possibilities that children like Maggie couldn't even have dreamed of.

Maggie at boarding school.How does child sponsorship work?

Maggie was sponsored by a generous couple and was enrolled at a girls' boarding school that many CARITAS children attend. She began her new life at the school in 2006, and corresponded with her sponsors regularly through letters and pictures throughout their relationship.

Maggie's sponsors were committed to providing her with the full tuition because a boarding school sponsorship provided:

• A full Catholic education
• Daily meals, clean water, and a secure place to live
• Medical services, good hygienic products and practices
• Healthy physical activity
• Counseling and religious instruction
• Clothing, personal and incidental needs

As her sponsors received Maggie's report cards, they found that all the children were held to a high standard of academic excellence, no matter their family background. They realized that their sponsorship was not a financial handout, but instead was a "hand up," empowering Maggie with the tools that she herself would have to embrace and take advantage of in order to succeed. With their financial and emotional support, they encouraged Maggie to work hard at school and gave her the opportunity to decide what direction her life would take.

Maggie in secondary school.How long does child sponsorship last?

While any and all support will make an impact for a needy child, Maggie's sponsors gave her the greatest possible gift - a sense of a stable and loving relationship, even from across the globe.

They knew there was no time commitment for sponsorship, but as they grew and bonded through their relationship, Maggie's sponsors did everything possible to make sure Maggie was self-reliant. After she graduated from secondary school, they even continued to sponsor her through her vocational training as a nurse! 

Maggie was able to work hard throughout her education, knowing that she had sponsors out there, praying for her, loving her, and wishing for her success. This kind of support can be invaluable to a vulnerable child, who years for a stable relationship as much as financial help.

This is why at CARITAS For Children, potential sponsors are invited to prayerfully discern before deciding to sponsor a child, because although there is no legal obligation to continue a sponsorship, the most profoundly impactful sponsorship are those that include a commitment of love.

Maggie and nursing classmates 
Is Child Sponsorship Effective?

Through the support of her loving sponsors, Maggie was given the opportunity to attend a nurse training school and become a midwife! This is an extremely important profession in Uganda, since OB doctors are few and many pregnant women do not receive the proper care to safely deliver their babies.

Maggie graduated from her program and got a job in a nursery working with children (her favorite!), and later got another job in the medical field. She was finally able to be self-reliant and achieve her own goals and dreams, something that would never have been possible without a sponsorship through CARITAS. While working, she met her now-husband Trevor, who is also a medical professional, and they welcomed their first child at Christmastime in 2020. Maggie is very happy that her little family can expect a stable home life. 

Baby shower for Maggie and Trevor
Thanks to the opportunities Maggie was given through her CARITAS For Children sponsorship, she was able to break free from the cycle of poverty that she was born into and can now provide a safe and secure upbringing for her own child! She is also overjoyed that her work has provided a much needed and valuable service for her community, thanks to her education. This is the kind of real outcome sponsorship produces in a person's life - the power to create lasting impact across generations, causing a ripple effect of God's love that proceeds from one person to many.