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Child Sponsorship:

A Lesson in Love

T his lesso n helps the participants explore what poverty means and how they can make a difference in the life of a child through sponsorship.

Mat erials N eeded

t i m e r e q u i r e d : 4 5 - 6 0 m i n u t e s | i NT E ND E D F O R G R A D E S 2 - 5

» Copies of Handout 1, “Country Cutouts,” found on pages 7-11, one for each participant » Mustard or other small seeds, one for each participant » Tape or glue » Newsprint » Marker » Pens or pencils, one for each participant » Copy of Resource 1, “Community Images,” found on page 12, you will need one copy of each photo » A Bible » A copy of “The Sponsorship Difference” slideshow which can be viewed and downloaded at click on the “free resources” icon and go to the “video” section. » A computer with Internet (access to a projector if available) for viewing the slideshow presentation and videos » Copies of Resource 2, “Sponsorship Stories,” found on pages 13-17, one story for each group of four to five participants

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» A large world map (large enough to place on a wall for viewing) » “Sponsorship Rachael” video available at Click on the “free resources” icon and go to the “video” section. » A copy of Resource 3, “Thank You Sponsors!” found on pages 18 » “Small Gift, Big Difference,” video available at Click on the “free resources” icon and go to the “video” section. » Copies of Handout 2, “The Basics of Sponsorship” handout, found on page 19, one for each participant

Preparation Needed » You will need to cut out the maps found on the handout “Country Cutouts,” and glue or tape a seed to each cutout. » Post two sheets of newsprint on the board or wall. » Download and preview videos from Just click on the “free resources” icon and go to the “video” section.

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Activity Steps B e gin t he l e s s o n by giving each participant one of the country cutouts you have prepared. Ask them to hold onto these during the presentation. Do not tell them why you have distributed the cutout; simply let it remain a mystery for now.

L e a d a l a r ge gr o up disc ussio n inviting the participants to share what comes to mind

when they hear the word “poverty.” Note the responses on a sheet of newsprint.

E xp l a in t hat:

» Millions of people around the world do not have homes, enough nutritious food, clean water, a school where they can learn, or money to buy clothes and medicine. » 1 billion people live on less than $1 a day. These people are living in poverty, meaning that they do not have enough money, and their communities do not have enough resources to live healthy, full lives.

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N e xt, s ho w t he pa rtic ipa nts the images from the resource “Community Images.”


R e a d a l o ud what Jesus says in John 15:12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have

You might consider passing the images around so the participants can get a closer look. Invite the participants to share what differences they see between the villages, noting their responses on a new sheet of newsprint. Then ask the participants which community they would prefer to live in, and why? Allow for several responses.

loved you.” Explain that this means that we are called to love and care for people with our words and actions. Then lead a group discussion asking the following questions: » Did someone ever give you a present or do something really nice for you? Explain what happened. How did it make you feel? » When others do something nice for you, do you want to do something nice for them in return?


D ur in g t he dis cussio n, be sure to share the following key points:

» Jesus also says we are to be generous to the poor (Deuteronomy 15:11) and always remember the poor (Galatians 2:10). » God has blessed us with many things we can use to help others. We can be generous with our friendship, our creativity, our money, and our time. » One way to love the poor is to sponsor a child who is living in poverty. » There are children around the world who are living in poverty and one way that we can help them is through child sponsorship programs like the one offered by World Vision. » Sponsoring a child is a long-term, serious commitment that your family, class, or church undertakes. You decide to sponsor a boy or a girl from one of the many countries in the world where sponsorship is offered. When you become a sponsor, you will get a picture of your child and information about him or her. » Your monthly sponsorship contribution is used to help fund programs in the community where your sponsored child lives. » The money helps build a stronger community for your sponsored child. » He or she may benefit from increased access to clean water, education, and healthcare, or his or her parents may receive training to start a new business or grow better crops to provide for their family. » Whatever the projects are, your sponsorship will give hope to a child and help him or her to live a full, healthy life.

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S h o w t h e “ T he Spo nso r ship Differ enc e” slideshow 2 reading the following

caption with each slide.





S l ide 3 : F oo d – World Vision gives agricultural assistance to improve health and food security. Communities learn new farming techniques, start growing new crops, and are educated about good nutrition. World Vision may also supply farming tools, seeds, and animals. Many children today do not have enough to eat, and many have died because their bodies don’t get necessary nutrition. World Vision helps make sure that children do not go hungry. With help getting started, communities can grow enough food and have enough animals of their own to continue without World Vision’s help.

S l ide 4 : C lea n Water – Clean water is important for our health and necessary


S l ide 1 : E d uc atio n – Many families around the world do not have enough money

to meet their daily needs, let alone send their children to school. So, children often miss school because parents cannot afford simple things like school fees or uniforms, or even pencils and paper. And, children must often stay home to help their parents work in the fields. Some families do not realize the importance of education, especially for girls. Depending on what the families and community needs, the money sponsors send may help to raise awareness on the importance of education, or help parents receive agricultural or business training so they can earn more money and send their children to school. In some cases, the money may even help provide school materials or improved school buildings or facilities. S l ide 2 : H ea lthCa r e – Many poor communities do not have a hospital or health

clinic. World Vision helps communities so they have access to medicine, places to go for medical services.

for activities like washing clothes, watering crops, and keeping clean, healthy bathrooms. Many children and adults become very sick because they don’t have clean water to drink. When people do not have water at home or there is no community well, they spend hours each day walking to get water for their family. To help, World Vision provides communities with what they need to build wells for clean water and improved sanitation. S l ide 5 : a nd mo r e … – When a child is sponsored through World Vision, the sponsor

and the child get to send each other letters like the one the boy is holding in the picture. The sponsor also receives a photo of the child they are sponsoring and can send him or her their own photo, too! World Vision also helps families make improvements in their home or take out loans to start a business. Children and their families see Jesus in the commitment we make to helping them. In some countries, World Vision cannot openly share faith, but many people come to know Jesus by our actions of love and service.

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8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

D iv ide t he pa rt i c ipa nts into groups of four or five. Provide each group with one of the

stories found on resource 3 “Sponsorship Stories.” Invite the groups to read their assigned story.

A f t e r t he s m a l l gr o ups have had time to read their story, ask one person from each

group to come to the front of the room and give a brief summary of the story and show where the child in the story lives by noting the location on the map.

E xp l a in t o t h e pa rtic ipa nts that in addition to helping their sponsored child through monthly giving, they will have the opportunity to write letters to the child and build a relationship with him or her.

Show the “Sponsorship Rachael” video.

A s k t he pa rt ic ipa nts to raise their hand if they have ever received a letter in the mail. Call

on a few of the participants and ask them to share who sent them the letter and how it made them feel to receive a letter in the mail.

R e a d a l o ud the sample letter.

D is c us s w h at the participants learned about the child.

A s k t he pa rt ic ipa nts what they would write to a boy or girl in a poor country. What

questions would they ask? What would they want to tell the child?

R e a d t h e f o l l o w ing sc r iptur e to the participants and explain the parable of the

mustard seed. They each should have the seed they received at the beginning of the lesson. “He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32.) Explain that even with the smallest acts of kindness, God can perform big miracles. Explain how participants’ families or the group’s small contribution every month will make a big difference in another child’s life.

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17 18 19 20

S h o w t h e “Small Gift, Big Difference” video.

T o c o nc l ude t he lesso n, lead a prayer in which the participants have the opportunity

to pray aloud as well. Pray that God would give us the ability and willingness to be generous to the poor and remember them in our actions and thoughts. Pray that God would provide sponsors for the children who are waiting and bless children and families living in poverty around the world.

U r ge t he pa rt icipa nts to continue to pray for the children who live in the country they received at the beginning of the lesson. Also ask them to pray that God would do big things with the little seeds of generosity that we plant.

D is t r ib ut e t he ha ndo ut “The Basics of Sponsorship” to participants for them to share

with their parents or group.

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handout 1

Country Cutouts

Cha d

eth i opi a

k e nya


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handout 1

Country Cutouts (continued)

Nig e r

rwan da

swa z il a nd

ugan da

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handout 1

Country Cutouts (continued)

z a mbia

ban gladesh

c hina

i n di a

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handout 1

Country Cutouts (continued)

phil ip p ine s

r oma nia

alban i a

bo li vi a

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handout 1

Country Cutouts (continued)

br a z il

me xic o

h ai ti


Permission to reproduce is granted. Š 2011 World Vision, Inc. PA G E 1 1 O F 2 0

Resource 1

Community Images

Permission to reproduce is granted. Š 2011 World Vision, Inc. PA G E 1 2 O F 2 0

Resource 2

Sponsorship Stories A nil a’ s Tw o M o t he r s Every morning before she leaves for school and every night before bedtime, Anila reads the letters from her sponsor. Anila is a quiet girl who doesn’t say much, but her shyness and timidity vanishes when she writes to her sponsor, with whom she has found someone who cares, loves and believes in her. “In the beginning, I couldn’t believe that those letters were for me. I wondered, ‘How could someone from so far away care and love me?’” Anila said. “It was as if my sponsor knew me for a long time,” she added, her eyes beaming with joy. Anila, 11, lives in Qukes commune, about two hours southeast of Tirana, the capital of Albania. The Librazhd area development program, through which Anila is sponsored, is in Qukes. Growing up in poverty in rural Albania, in a male-dominated society, the odds are low that someone other than her mother would encourage Anila to pursue her dreams and compliment her talents. However, sponsorship has brought new hope for Anila and her siblings; they now have a friend who believes in them. Anila has had regular correspondence with her sponsor for more than a year. She has received 14 letters so far, which she has memorized by heart. The letters from her sponsor are the window to a whole new world; they are the source of her encouragement and strength. They have made Anila more determined to pursue her goals. Though she has to venture out walking the village roads that are covered in snow most of the winter, Anila attends school faithfully because she now has a dream. “When I grow up, I want to be an English teacher,” said Anila. “When she received her first letter, my daughter was truly puzzled that someone from so far away could write so lovingly to her. Now, they have developed a great relationship with each other, and my daughter loves to write to her sponsor,” said Anila’s mother, Mirjeta. Anila is so fond and proud of her friend that she wants to share her letters with everyone who visits. The letters are truly beautiful. They are filled with love, concern and, encouragement for the little girl. (continued next page)

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Resource 2

Sponsorship Stories (cont.)

Anila’s eyes shine with joy as she starts reading one of the letters, “My dear beautiful daughter” the letter starts, “I am amazed at how beautiful your writing is. You should continue writing, I am sure you can be a talented writer.” Letter after letter the relationship has become so strong that Anila no longer refers to her sponsor as a friend but as her Korean mother.

“I have two sisters and a brother,” she said, referring to the son of her sponsor. “And I have two mothers, my mother here in Albania and my Korean mother.” “In the beginning, it was hard to get used to the idea that my daughter would call someone else halfway across the world ‘mother,’ but then seeing the love her sponsor felt for Anila and seeing the joy and encouragement my daughter got with each letter, I feel more comfortable,” said Mirjeta. “My biggest dream now is to meet my Korean mom, her husband, and my little brother,” said Anila. “In all of her letters, my Korean mom, tells me that she loves me, and she always encourages me,” said Anila. “I love my sponsor very, very much, too.” Anila’s sponsor’s generosity goes beyond encouragement and love shared through letters. Anila’s family has also received small gifts and sometimes additional monetary support, helping the family through difficult times. “I am so grateful for all that the sponsor has done for us,” said Mirjeta. “All of the school supplies for Anila and her sisters I purchased with the money sent from her sponsor. That’s a great help for us.” “The support my daughter’s sponsor has given to us is not only helpful, but it is also a true sign of their care for our family,” added Mirjeta. “However, the biggest gift for our family would be if the sponsor comes to visit us; I know this will mean the world to my daughter.” “I wish they knew what a great difference they have made in our lives,” said Mirjeta.

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Resource 2

Sponsorship Stories (continued) S cho o l N o L o ng e r J u s t A D re am In a small, one-room hut tucked deep inside the rolling Ethiopian highland mountains, 8-year-old Abduraman Yasin reads from one of his school books. Reading is new for him, but it hardly shows. Hunched over his book, his index finger slowly underlining each word as he reads, he cautiously but proudly makes it through the words one to ten. Abduraman has already been to school and back today, trekking one hour each way through a winding path in the mountains. He wakes up each morning at 5 to finish his chores and begin the long walk to school. Abduraman does not seem to mind, though—his wish to go to school came true this year. “None of the children went to school before. Abduraman was very sad that his friends went to school and he was left at home,” recalls his mother, Sadya Mume. “I was not able to buy the books for school. The only thing we could do was feed them.” Food prices for the local staple grain, teff, have doubled in the past year alone, forcing many families to choose between feeding their children and paying for school fees. Exacerbating the price of food has been the failure of rains in the past season. Currently, more than 4.2 million people in Ethiopia are estimated to be in need of food assistance. Abduraman’s family, with little to no harvest from their own fields this year, struggled with the same choice. “We have a small plot for our family, but it’s not enough for us to eat,” laments Sadya. “There is not enough income. I know the importance of school for my boys and my girl, but it was just the books and pens I needed so that they could go.” A recent assessment by World Vision showed that no more than 50 percent of the children in this area have a chance to go to school. Girls are often less likely to go to school, and even if they do, their enrollment tends to decrease as the grade levels increase. Many girls are pulled from school to help at home with younger siblings, or stop their education because the long walks to school make them vulnerable to abductions or sexual predators as they get older. (continued on next page)

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Resource 2

Sponsorship Stories (cont.)

Although World Vision’s program in this area of Ethiopia is only one year old, it has already had a great impact on Abduraman’s family and their ability to go to school. As one of 1,500 children sponsored by World Vision in this area, Abduraman received school books and supplies so that he, his older brother, and sister could all start school together for the first time this year.

“When he heard he could go to school, he started crying because he was so happy. We were all crying,” says Sadya. “I was really worried and scared that maybe he would become a thief or a criminal in the future, but I am free of that fear now.” As he begins to put his books away, Abduraman, a small-framed but excitable little boy, beams when asked how he feels about school. “My favorite subject is science. I want to be a doctor,” he exclaims. “Maybe I will treat you when you get older.” He laughs, amused by his own statement. His sister, Maftua, giggles beside him. World Vision is committed to Abduraman’s family and plans to distribute seeds to the family in the coming months so that they can reclaim part of their lost harvest. Abduraman’s school has also received new benches and desks so that now the students do not have to sit on the floor anymore. Moving outside, Maftua sits under a tree and begins to sing to herself. The sun’s rays shine through the leaves of the tree that she’s sitting under while her brother plays with his friends. Their mother looks on proudly, content that even though life may still be difficult, her children can now build a brighter future for themselves.

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Resource 2

Sponsorship Stories (continued) My Sponsor Prays For Me Irina’s home shakes with the pouring rain and strong wind, but she does not seem to mind. Such heavy rain is common at this time of the year in Chile. What could be considered a deluge elsewhere is normal weather for Irina. She lives at home with her parents and her 26-year-old brother. On weekday mornings, she attends school, and in the afternoons, she plays with her dog Diana, her company on those rainy days. Irina lives in the commune of Alto Bio Bio, a mountain community of scattered dwellings and tiny villages with no more than 7,000 inhabitants, most of whom are indigenous Mapuche people. Irina and her family are “settlers” as the Mapuche call the non-indigenous Chileans who live in the area. Irina’s home is a wooden house built by her father and is located in Ralco, a small village where the settlers of the valley concentrate. A shy girl, Irina has no problem talking about the things she likes. At home, she goes around with a small handbag where she keeps the letters and pictures of Aunt Nancy, as she calls her sponsor. “She writes to me and she tells me that she has nine children and a dog called Eddy,” says Irina happily. What fascinates Irina about her sponsor is her love of animals—Nancy raises birds to set them free. “My sponsor tells me that she always prays for me, this is why I love her so much, and I would like to meet her some day.” Irina attends fourth grade in the primary school of Ralco, where the majority of children are sponsored through World Vision. Since she has been sponsored, the project has given her all the necessary school stationary to attend classes and she has been participating in the activities World Vision organizes in the schools of this area. These activities include early stimulation courses, workshops on prevention of family violence, and activities aimed at maintaining the cultural identity of the Mapuche people. The rain does not stop in Alto Bio Bio and Irina, once more, is reading the letters that her sponsor has sent her. Her favorites are the ones “of the doggie”—which contains news of Eddy, the dog. These letters show wear and tear because they are read over and over. Irina carries them with her at all times and reads them whenever she wants and never loses the hope of meeting her Aunt Nancy some day. Permission to reproduce is granted. © 2011 World Vision, Inc. PA G E 1 7 O F 2 0

Resource 3

‘Thank You Sponsors!’ Karen, 5, and her mother want to thank her sponsors for sending a special gift for the girl. So, they sent a thank-you letter, written in Spanish by Karen’s mother. When the sponsors send money, as an additional donation, it is invested in the most urgent needs of the sponsored child. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Kelley: My Name is Karen Natalia, I am 5 years old, and I’m in kindergarten. I live with my mother, Maria Sacramento. My mom sells makeup and cleans houses. I like playing with dolls. I also like studying. Now, I know counting from 1 to 10 in English. When I grow up, I’d like to be a doctor, because I like helping people. On Saturdays, I go to Seedbeds of Peace [a learning space supported by World Vision], where I learn how to draw. The puppet shows teach me that God is good and He lives in my heart. On Sundays, I go to the Christian church with my mom. Thanks for the special gift you sent me [through World Vision], with this money, my mother and I bought food and clothes. I also received the school kit and the hygiene kit from World Vision. Mr. and Mrs. Kelley, I love you very much and I’m sending hugs and kisses! Lots of Love, Karen Natalia

Permission to reproduce is granted. © 2011 World Vision, Inc. PA G E 1 8 O F 2 0

handout 2

The Basics of Sponsorship


What is S p o ns o rs hip ?

More than 1 billion people live on less than a dollar a day. These children and families are all too familiar with poverty. It has robbed them of hope and threatens to steal their future. By helping a child living in such extreme poverty, we can enable them to experience the fullness of life God offers. Join World Vision and sponsors all over the world as we seek to bring compassion and justice to the world’s poorest people. As a child sponsor, you are connected with one special child who will know your name, write to you, and feel your tender love and prayers. Your monthly sponsorship gift will provide a child with access to things such as: » Clean water » Nutritious food » Health care » Educational opportunities » Spiritual nurture


How To S p o ns o r a C hil d » Visit to begin sponsoring a child today!

Permission to reproduce is granted. © 2011 World Vision, Inc.

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About World Vision W o r l d V is io n is a Christian humanitarian organization

dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, World Vision serves alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people. We see a world where each child experiences “fullness of life” as described in John 10:10. And we know this can be achieved only by addressing the problems of poverty and injustice in a holistic way. That’s how World Vision is unique: We bring 60 years of experience in three key areas needed to help children and families thrive: emergency relief, long-term development, and advocacy. And we bring all of our skills across many areas of expertise to each community we work in, enabling us to care for children’s physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Partnering with World Vision provides tangible ways to honor God and put faith into action. By working, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of children and families who are struggling to overcome poverty. To find out more about how you can help, visit

About World Vision Resources E nding gl o b a l po v erty and injustice begins with education: understanding the magnitude and causes of poverty, its impact on human dignity, and our connection to those in need around the world.

World Vision Resources is the publishing ministry of World Vision. World Vision Resources educates Christians about global poverty, inspires them to respond, and equips them with innovative resources to make a difference in the world.

For more information about our resources, contact: World Vision Resources Mail Stop 321 P.O. Box 9716 Federal Way, WA 98063-9716 Fax: 253-815-3340

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Child Sponsorship: A Lesson in Love - A Teaching Activity  

This session seeks to educate children about impact they can have on other children’s lives through World Vision sponsorship

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