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Feminism: chat

Sponsoring a child

24 replies

Tootsweets23 · 11/12/2020 17:43

I've been thinking about sponsoring a child where you send letters to them as opposed to a generic charity donation. My husband and I used to sponsor a child through World Vision a long time ago, but in the wake of the behaviour of some of our UK and international charities I've paused before going ahead. Specifically I'm thinking of the cases of exploitation and abuse of the very children they are supposed to protect, plus questionable rubber related and men are women practices in their HQs/corporate teams.

I was wondering if anyone has any opinions on this? Are there organisations that have remained true to the values of protecting women and children who allow you to sponsor a child?

Thanks in advance.

OP posts:

NotTerfNorCis · 11/12/2020 19:02

I sponsor children, and haven't heard anything bad about the organisations, but I can't vouch for them 100%. There will always be corruption and abuses of power even if the vast majority of people in an organisation are completely decent.

The organisations I sponsor with are:

ActionAid. They are the most political (left-wing). They got some stick on here not long ago because one of their employees told someone they don't believe in biological sex. Since then I've been reading more of their material and I can tell you that doesn't represent ActionAid. They're well aware of how girls are disadvantaged because of their biology.

Plan International. Another secular organisation that puts a lot of focus on girls' rights. Again I haven't seen any sparkle-type ideology from them.

SOS Children's Villages. You'd probably be one of many sponsors for the child. These are children who can't live with their parents, so are part of a family in a village with an 'SOS mom'.

World Vision. A Christian charity who are a bit on the 'hard sell' side. They seem okay but have the highest turnover in the sense that you'll sponsor a child for a bit, then out of the blue you'll get a letter saying 'so-and-so has left the project, please meet so-and-so'.

Compassion. An evangelical Christian charity and the most old school. All the rest, you actually sponsor the project, not the child. But Compassion uses the old model which means your money goes directly to the child and their family. You can also sponsor them through college, and you can give fairly large monetary gifts apart from the monthly donations.

All of these charities are good in their own way. When people ask I tend to recommend Plan as having a good reputation and being politically aware and committed to social change, but also secular.


OhHolyJesus · 11/12/2020 19:17

I also avoid large corporate charities.

I'm sorry to say that ActionAid don't know what a woman or girl is, thankfully Plan Int do.

I support this small charity:

Lumos and another small charity:

Though I don't think you can sponsor a child with them but they do help children in various ways - due to their size they are not be able to offer the sponsor a child schemes. Sorry if that's not helpful. Others will be along for more suggestions soon.


NotTerfNorCis · 11/12/2020 19:21

There's also but I have no first hand experience supporting them.


Tootsweets23 · 11/12/2020 19:22

Thank you so much this is really helpful. Part of my wanting to do this is so my two young kids can send and receive letters and be aware of the child's life, to help them see how others in the world live. So the more direct a relationship the better, however I was wondering if the World Vision old skool method actually were in any way problematic. It may not be!

I realise this isn't strictly a feminist issue however i value the judgement of the women here plus I'm very keen to not fund an anti-women/girls mindset that has taken over other NGOs.

OP posts:

NotTerfNorCis · 11/12/2020 19:35

It's great that you're giving your kids this opportunity. For correspondence, Plan, Compassion and ActionAid are the best, although the letters from ActionAid don't sound like they were written with much input from the child. SOS kids aren't asked to write to sponsors (probably because they can have as many as ten). World Vision is spotty. Sometimes you might get letters that sound like they're from a different child, and there aren't many clues that they're reading your letters. I guess it depends on the project.


peakotter · 11/12/2020 19:35

We sponsor with compassion. It is Christian, so not to everyone’s views. I’ve been very impressed with how long the children stay with the project, the out of school clubs and the wider family support. You can send gifts but the monthly payment covers attending the group and the individual support that comes with it.


DookaDakkaDikku · 11/12/2020 19:39

I do the Butterfly Tree in Zambia They are quite small and don't do letters, but you can read their blog on their website.


ThatIsNotMyUsername · 12/12/2020 08:06

We have sponsored with SOS children’s villages for years now.

We get a letter from the home once a year and that describes the home and what all the kids get up to (also explains the local situations - is having to move home several times because of war). The children are housed together with a ‘mum’ and are part of the local community - and the houses are pretty worldwide (I was surprised to see some in Canada and central Europe for some reason - but kids in need are international aren’t they?)

I chose them because they weren’t a religious group, nor one that got involved in politics. They home children who can’t live at home - so either they don’t have a family or their family just can’t look after them.

They ask you don’t send gifts but you can send money to the child’s home for them to buy something for the house so that they all benefit.


Tootsweets23 · 12/12/2020 09:33

Thanks so much everyone - I've gone with Plan, but will look to do something with SOS Villages next year. They sound like a great organisation.

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ThatIsNotMyUsername · 12/12/2020 09:43

Ah thanks - they are good. I used to deal with then and they are a good crowd in the office too.


Verrucapepper · 12/12/2020 09:52

Goal for The Gambia- really tiny charity that make an absolutely massive difference. As a family we have been to ‘holiday’ there and spent time hanging out. I WhatsApp the family I sponsor and we can write anytime. It’s only £7 a month to sponsor a child and it really does make such a huge difference. They’ve built schools, nurseries and hospitals. Also wholly supportive of the women and children, as a Muslim country they can be often overlooked.


NotTerfNorCis · 18/06/2021 19:10

Hi, I remembered this discussion and wanted to say another good thing about Plan. One of my sponsorships with them has come to an end because the child turned eighteen. Other orgs immediately link you to another child and tell you afterwards, but Plan have said they've stopped the direct debit and it's up to me if I want to continue. I think that's pretty good of them.


CardinalLolzy · 27/06/2021 18:37

Thanks for the useful information in this thread! It's definitely something I'd like to do. Plan have repeatedly caught my eye over the years but I've never set up anything regular. Hadn't thought about this being an opportunity for my own kids to learn but it is. My parents sponsored a child in Lebanon iirc when I was young.


mpsw · 27/06/2021 18:43

I used to sponsor a girl through

They have a brilliant set of projects, and you can find the link to sponsoring a child under the drop down 'Our Programme' and select 'Education Sponsorship,


Clymene · 27/06/2021 20:52

I'm thinking of sponsoring a sister - a woman survivor of war - through

Definitely know what a woman is


NannyR · 27/06/2021 21:03

I sponsor through SOS children's villages, one of the reasons I chose them was that they didn't require the child to write letters to their sponsors. You get an update letter and a Christmas card and a photo each year and some children and sponsors do correspond but I felt strongly that a child didn't feel obligated to write letters to a total stranger, just because I was helping financially. Something about it didn't sit right with me. I'm happy to sit in the background and let the child get on with living their life and doing normal child stuff.


GCAcademic · 27/06/2021 21:13

I've been sponsoring a child through SOS childrens' villages too. One of the main draws for me is that the family unit or household the children live in has a local woman running it, and there is no day-to-day involvement or presence of Westerners, either as volunteers or employees.


Erikrie · 27/06/2021 21:18

I used to sponsor with Plan but I stopped when I found out they stated a woman could be male or female. Shame really as I'd sponsored them for over 20 years. I'm keen to find an alternative.


littlbrowndog · 27/06/2021 21:29

Jk pays all the admin costs etc. See below

In 2008, our inspirational founder and President, J.K. Rowling, gave Lumos the gift of the rights to her book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and the charity has already received over £18m in income as a result. This money is being directed to cover Lumos’ core running costs – including administration, fundraising and office costs. Thanks to the generous support of J.K. Rowling and others, 100% of the money you give to Lumos will go directly to Lumos projects and not to overhead or administrative costs.

Fundraising and administration costs
Governance costs
Rent, service charges and utilities
Business rates and insurance
Utilities such as electricity, postage and carriage
Telephone and fax
Cleaning and office stationery services and expenses
IT services
Bank charges
Recruitment, HR costs, audit, payroll and accountancy fees


Erikrie · 27/06/2021 21:45

littlbrowndog that looks good.


KarmaViolet · 27/06/2021 21:50

I sponsor a child through WorldVision. I'm not aware of any gender woo and the updates I get are mostly about improved sanitation in the area. The child I sponsor is the same age as DD so I show her the updates I get.


Forgotthebins · 28/06/2021 08:38

NannyR I agree with you, I don’t think the child should be required to write letters. It must cost quite a lot in admin to track all that letter writing and I would rather that money went to the project. I wish charity comms would just send me a factual short email update really rather than glossy highly designed and branded stuff. But I know the personal link is really valued by friends who give that way, so each to their own.


NeverDropYourMoonCup · 30/06/2021 21:48


I used to sponsor with Plan but I stopped when I found out they stated a woman could be male or female. Shame really as I'd sponsored them for over 20 years. I'm keen to find an alternative.

But they're happy enough to punt out TV adverts effectively saying 'this little girl will be raped married off and could die in childbirth unless you set up a regular donation to us'?

Seems they know exactly what a girl is, along with what and who pose the greatest dangers to her specifically because of her sex when it's financially advantageous.

TaraR2020 · 30/06/2021 22:16

Great thread btw

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