A couple of years ago we started sponsoring a little boy called Brighton via The Small Things. I’d met Bekka through Eve (babaandboo) and helped out for a little while on their Twitter feeds. I’ve asked Bekka to share a post with you today.
It’s easy –If you can afford a daily cup of coffee, you can afford to sponsor a child! Sponsorship starts so low (less than a soda or cup of coffee per day) because your money goes so far in Tanzania, where so many still suffer from dire poverty.
Just $20 feeds a child at the orphanage for a month, and $50 cover’s a week’s salary for a caregiver. Even better, as a small, grassroots NGO employing mostly local staff, we are able to achieve incredible results on a comparatively tiny budget. That’s what our organization is all about – bringing together small contributions from individuals all over the world in order to achieve big results! Sponsorship covers food, caretakers, education, medical care, and all other needs for your sponsored child.
This is crucial for you to understand – these kids are not broken, and despite having lived through often immense trauma, they are at their core just normal, happy, healthy kids. Little Baracka, one of the strongest willed little boys I have ever had the immense pleasure of knowing, decided around one and a half that he refused to be left behind in the mornings with the other younger children, including his twin sister, when the older kids (3+) attended preschool. Instead he simply followed them out day after day, screaming bloody murder if interrupted, until he was allowed to stay. Recently, Ema (who is ten years old) asked me if his sponsor is old. When I asked him what old meant, he considered for a minute before responding, “Like, 30?” David is nine, and describes himself gleefully as having “big ears like an elephant.” They make me laugh every single day. Sponsors receive quarterly updates, photos, and often direct letters and videos from the children as they grow up.
It’s good for you – Not only will sponsoring a child make you smile, you will feel great knowing you are making a difference in the world. There are even studies that show that charitable giving improves the health and happiness of the giver!
There is a large and growing body of research demonstrating charity’s positive effects on the giver, a real win/win situation! According to a study done in 2008, those who give to the needy reduce the odds of a premature death by nearly 60% compared with those who don’t lend a helping hand. Lead author Stephanie Brown explains, “Making a contribution to the lives of other people may help to extend our own lives.” In another study from 2008 originating at Harvard, giving money away created more happiness for participants than spending it on themselves, even if they expected the opposite. This happens because altruistic actions release endorphins in the brain, giving you that great “warm fuzzy” feeling that comes from doing good.
It’s good for your family – Sponsoring a child together with your own kids or grandchildren can be a great way to bond as a family while teaching them about the importance of giving back.
“We ourselves know that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa
For kids, it can be hard to grasp the immensity of problems like poverty and lack of medical access. Sponsoring a child, especially one around their own age, (as Chelle did with Fizz) helps put a human face on abstract ideas, while also helping them get to know kids from another culture. This type of interaction with real kids can also help them to understand that tough childhoods or different backgrounds are nothing when compared to the vast commonalities between children all over the world! We have one great couple who sponsor a little girl the same age as their own baby girl, May –they share the same raucous laugh and chubby cheeks!
It makes a huge difference for one child –We create hope for orphaned and vulnerable children, by providing loving care when they have nowhere else to go, and by building up the capacity of their families and communities in order to give them brighter futures. 100% of sponsorship funds are spent on the children’s care!
Up until about ten years ago, the children who grew up in the orphanage were simply sent back to the village at age five, regardless of whether there was anyone there able and willing to care for them. More than a third ended up abused, neglected, or passing away. Now there are two possibilities – either we find loving relatives who want to take them in but require financial support, and assist them through payment of school fees, microfinance and business development. Alternatively, they move into the warm family-style homes at Happy Family Children’s Village, attend high quality schools while living as a group with the children and caretakers they have known their entire lives.
It creates a better future – It’s not just the kids who benefit from your generosity. Sponsorship raises leaders and helps families and communities, ensuring that the positive effects of your donation continue for many years to come.
TST is local at every level –we have Tanzanian caretakers, volunteers, support and management staff. We are not anyone’s saviors – we simply provide the support and infrastructure that the community needs to lift itself up. Overall, more than 90% of our budget is spent on the ground in Tanzania and goes right back into the local community. Through our family preservation and reunification efforts, we use sponsorship funds to either bring children home from orphanage care or keep them from entering residential care in the first place. We’ve helped many families to create sustainable businesses, pumped over half a million dollars into the local economy, and given happy, healthy childhoods to over a hundred children. With their excellent educations, high levels of support, and global perspective, they are poised to become the next leaders of Tanzania and (who knows?) maybe the world!
Say yes to sponsoring a child today – I promise it is something you will never regret.