FAQs

How does being a Christian organisation impact our work?

Our faith in Jesus Christ is core to who we are. As an expression of God’s unconditional love for all people, especially vulnerable children, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed. We hope to live as followers of Christ by being active, visible bearers of God’s love.

Relying on God’s grace and Spirit, we affirm the truth of the gospel and our hope in Christ through our character, speech, actions, and in the signs of God’s power at work in individual lives, in the communities where we work, and in all creation.

What kind of faith-based work do you do?

We partner with local churches, helping to strengthen local leadership and equipping them with resources and training to carry out our shared mission among the poor and oppressed. Our commitment is that when World Vision leaves communities, there will be thriving and engaged churches for sustained spiritual and physical transformation.

We are not a Church. We are a broad-based family of Christians, who are an expression of God’s love – on special assignment to care for those who are poor and oppressed.

Churches are our indispensable partners in God’s mission. We support, but are not a substitute for, the local church.

Why do you work in some areas that aren’t predominantly Christian?

We are privileged to be welcomed into many communities where Christianity is a minority faith — or barely present at all. This gives us great opportunities to serve in the name of Christ where He is not known, and to bring credibility to the gospel where it is disregarded or disrespected.

Our calling is to serve those living in poverty, even where cultural, religious, or legal constraints are placed on the expression of Christian faith. We choose to serve wholeheartedly in these places, because the alternative — allowing children to suffer needlessly from hunger, poverty, and disease — is unacceptable. Jesus’ call took Him to the poor; we follow His example.

In our work among people of other world religions, we respect and value our common humanity, values and desire to care for and protect vulnerable children. By developing relationships with people of other faiths, we have found that suspicion, mistrust, and fear are replaced with trust, friendship, and mutual support.

Do you expect the people you help to share your beliefs?

We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. We do not proselytize, and we pledge never to exploit vulnerability to obtain a profession of faith. We do not feed the hungry as a means to an end. We feed the hungry because God cares about people who are hungry, and He wants them to be fed (Psalm 145:13-17).

Insisting that people hear a certain message or affirm a specific belief as a prerequisite to receiving our assistance violates codes of conduct established for disaster, relief, and humanitarian groups of which we are a member. However, our hope is that our work and lives would contribute to people becoming followers of Christ.

Do you talk to people about Jesus?

In all ways appropriate for a local context, we seek to witness to Christ — through our deeds of love and mercy, the character and conduct of our staff, and through our words of testimony. As we demonstrate the unconditional love of God to others, we are ready to give the reason for the hope within us, but expect people to evaluate the truth of our message by our actions.

God created men and women in His image, giving each of us a free will. Therefore, we respect individuals — including their culture, faith, and beliefs. We respect the dignity and the right of all people to maintain and their religious beliefs. We seek in every instance to be faithful ambassadors of the good news of Jesus through our actions (2 Corinthians 5:20) and hope that our lives will reflect God’s generous love for people, ultimately bringing glory and praise to Him.

What is child sponsorship and how does it work?

Our World Vision child sponsorship programme changes the lives of thousands of children every year. Our vision of creating a better world for our children works on the simple yet powerful principle that the best way to change the life of a needy child is to change the world in which he or she lives.

Child sponsorship gives people an opportunity to personally connect with a needy child and walk alongside their family and community as they work on lasting solutions to the causes that keep vulnerable children from reaching their God-given potential.

When you become a child sponsor, you will be connected to one special child who will correspond with you, including sending a letter to introduce themselves. We encourage you to continue this relationship and to get to know your sponsored child better by writing letters or sending cards. It is very exciting for a child to receive a letter from their sponsor knowing that someone far away cares about them and their future.

Your sponsorship donations will help build a stronger community and give children and their families access to programmes that will provide greater opportunities. For just R150 a month, you will help your sponsored child and children in their community enjoy good health, be educated, cared for, protected, and participating in making their community a better place to live – and to love God and their neighbours.

The wellbeing of children is the focus of all the work World Vision does. Your donations, and the donations of other sponsors like you, work together within the community to address the needs and conditions of children and families and have maximum impact in the lives of children, families, and communities.

We help to change a child’s life by changing the world in which they live. The wellbeing of your sponsored child is tied to the wellbeing of their family and community. We work with the whole community to address issues that are important to them so they can better care for their children. The best solution to poverty, one that will last, is not about giving people handouts or doing the work for them. It is about working alongside them to build a better community. We work with many people that contribute to the wellbeing of a child, including their families, organisations, groups, churches within their community, and local, provincial, and national government.

Each community we work with faces different challenges and has different needs. Therefore, the way we do our work is unique to each community. World Vision South Africa listens to the people in a community to understand what prevents their children from reaching their full potential. We then help to improve the lives of children by working with their community to address the needs they have identified.

How does sponsorship help children?

Millions of children around the world need help to break the never-ending cycle of poverty. Hunger weakens them. Unsafe drinking water makes them sick. Missing out on an education keeps them from reaching their potential.

As a sponsor, you will help to provide a child with sustainable access to appropriate life-changing basics such as nutritious food, clean water, healthcare, and education.

Child sponsorship also helps families and communities lift themselves out of poverty by providing job training, business coaching, small loans, along with training to help poverty-affected farmers learn new ways to irrigate and grow crops.

How does World Vision work with the community to plan and implement child sponsorship?

World Vision works in communities where our presence is requested and welcomed. Before a sponsorship project begins, World Vision workers meet with local community leaders to assess the needs in the community and determine appropriate and effective responses. Together, we develop a plan for project areas and activities that will address their needs and priorities. A plan of operation with a proposed timeline, budget, specific goals, and objectives is created. This plan includes the number of children and families that will be assisted through the various components of the project. A majority of World Vision project staff are local residents who are best suited to evaluate and serve the needs of their community.

As World Vision earns trust and credibility within the community, community members participate in and take ownership of the projects. While projects are in progress, the work is evaluated to ensure it is having maximum impact. Within the last years, the community prepares to carry out the development work after World Vision leaves.

By partnering with local people in the project communities, World Vision empowers them to bring about change themselves and to sustain progress in their community long after the project goals they have established with World Vision have been achieved.

Does my monthly gift go directly to the child I am sponsoring?

World Vision child sponsorship is an amazing model that allows for a one-on-one relationship with a sponsor, while pooling the gifts of all sponsors who support children in the same community so that we are able to provide long-term resources for lasting change.

A child does not receive direct cash benefits like a welfare system. Giving the family of the child money does not ensure responsible spending or that the community will be able to sustain itself once World Vision is no longer working in the area.

Effective development that releases people from long-term poverty lies in helping people discover their God-given potential as human beings, then working together to realise that potential.

Clean water, health care, agriculture, education, and income generation are important, but are secondary to the basic work of getting the community to take ownership of these projects in the long-term. The needs and participation of children are paramount.

What makes a child eligible for sponsorship? How are children chosen for sponsorship?

Sponsorship is a programme that the whole family decides to participate in. World Vision workers meet with community representatives and present the sponsorship programme. These representatives then present the opportunity to the families in the area.

The families are informed that their children will benefit from the programme, and that benefits will be shared throughout the community.

Can I send money and other gifts directly to my sponsored child?

Yes, you have the opportunity to send a specific extra gift through World Vision South Africa over and above the amount of your monthly sponsorship that will go directly to the child and his or her family.

Your gift will be sent to the World Vision office near them where staff members in the field help them determine and purchase the items they need the most, such as farm animals or school supplies.
You may also send your sponsored child small gifts and cards.

How are my sponsorship donations used?

The goal of World Vision’s child sponsorship programme is to make life better for children.
Our child sponsorship programmes have four basic aspirations that guide our work and on which our work is measured. Children have the right to enjoy good health; be educated for life; be cared for, protected, and participate in their communities; and experience the love of God and their neighbours.Poverty is complex and rarely solved by one intervention. Depending on each community’s needs, a sponsored child – and his or her entire community – benefits from things like clean water through new or renovated wells, school fees and supplies, better education due to restored schools and teacher training, improved nutrition due to agricultural training, as well as health care clinics and immunisations.In areas where permitted, World Vision works with local churches to ensure that a sponsor’s gift will also help provide a Christian education programme to give children the chance to learn about Jesus and his love.

The costs of keeping records on sponsored children, translating and forwarding letters, and meeting emergencies are also covered through the monthly sponsorship gifts. A portion of these funds supports doctors, teachers, agricultural officers, auditors, and other specialised staff members who serve sponsored children in their communities.

What do I receive when I sponsor a child?

About 10 days after you sponsor a child, you’ll receive a Welcome Kit in the mail with your child’s photo and more information about sponsorship. Within six to 12 weeks, look out for your first letter from your sponsored child. You can email and write back.

Every year you will also receive an annual progress report with a new photo of your sponsored child and details about the progress that your child is making.

How can I correspond with and even visit my sponsored child?

The relationship that you build with your sponsored child changes both their life and yours. You will find out how to contact your child in your child sponsorship welcome kit. You may also choose to visit your sponsored child for a life-changing adventure that neither of you will forget. Please note that due to the time involved, we need to begin planning a visit at least three months in advance of your proposed visit date.

What is World Vision’s policy on protection/child security during social media activities?

As a child-focused organisation, World Vision recognises that in this fast-paced new-media world, technology can bring new types and levels of risk to children, especially as online predators look for ways to gain easy access to vulnerable victims.

At World Vision, it is our deepest desire to ensure that children and their families are protected from the fear or reality of any potential physical or emotional abuse resulting from inappropriate and unsafe internet and social media use, including the sharing of private information about a child and their family.

We want you to have the opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with your sponsored child in a way that is safe, secure and fulfilling for both of you. Because of this, we ask our sponsors to abide by the following standards while participating and partnering in World Vision’s sponsorship programme:

  • Simply remember that World Vision discourages direct, unmonitored communication with your sponsored child or family without World Vision’s knowledge. This includes contact through the internet or social media (e.g. Instant Messaging, WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, etc.). Note that WV does not allow unplanned visits to the child’s residence or community, under any circumstance, without World Vision’s prior knowledge.
  • In order to protect children’s security and privacy, please do not post your sponsored child’s last name or identifying details on the internet or social media sites. For example, it’s fine to update your Facebook status by saying “I just sponsored a little girl named Thabi from Limpopo!” – in fact, this is encouraged. But it’s not okay to post her photo and say “This is my 12-year-old sponsored child, Thabi Mathebula, from a little village named Sebenza in Limpopo.”
  • Because your privacy and security are equally important to us, sponsored children and families are discouraged from contacting you without World Vision’s knowledge as well. This is to protect you from being solicited, perhaps with threats to the child’s wellbeing, if someone with ill intent knows they have access to direct communication with you. Any non-facilitated contact initiated by your sponsored child or their family that makes you feel uncomfortable should immediately be reported to World Vision for both their security and yours.