His name was Habineza, and his picture had a permanent place on our old, silver fridge.
We began sponsoring that sweet, little boy from Rwanda when I was in high school. Although I was the one who initially decided to sponsor him, sponsorship quickly became a family affair — something we were all invested in. We loved Habineza, and we wanted to give him the chance at a bright future.
Sponsoring a child can be an incredible bonding experience for a family. Together, you are impacting the life of a child living in poverty. You are meeting crucial needs by providing essentials like food, medical attention, and educational assistance. But most importantly, you are showing your sponsored child that he or she is loved by your family and by God.
Wondering how you can get your own kids more involved in the life of your sponsored child? Here are four ways you can include your children in that journey:
1. Learn about your child’s country
One of the best ways to get your family involved in sponsorship is by learning about the country your child is from. You and your children can research the country and its culture — learning popular games, music, and traditions. As you learn more about your sponsored child’s culture, you and your kids will begin to form a bond with the child. This is also a great opportunity to teach your kids about different places in the world.
In fact, depending on where your sponsored child is from, you might even be able to travel with World Help and meet your child in person! We have heard from many child sponsors who said this can be an incredibly moving experience.
2. Draw pictures and write letters
When I was growing up, I loved writing and receiving letters from my cousins. They lived across the country, and it was so fun to hear about their lives. Encouraging your child to write letters and draw pictures can be a fun way for him or her to engage with your sponsored child. You can even send this fun, Thanksgiving themed letter!
You can even send a small craft like this pop up card, this paper sunflower, or this zebra puppet. No matter what you write or create, you child is sure to love communicating with another kid on the other side of the world.
3. Pray together for your child
Your sponsored child needs prayer as much as your own children do. Set aside a time where you can pray as a family for your sponsored child. After researching more about the country, talk with your kids about some of the specific prayer requests your sponsored child might have. Be honest about what sponsorship provides and why this child might have those needs.
This is a special way for your children to feel invested in the impact of sponsorship. It can also lead to some great family conversations about why it’s important to help those in need.
4. Involve your children in fundraising
Allowing your children to help support your sponsored child is a great way to teach them the value of giving. While they may not be able to donate much, they will be making a significant impact in the life of another child! Whether they do extra chores, save up some of their allowance, or run a lemonade stand, even a young child can find a way to contribute.
There are several ways your child can support your sponsored child and other kids in need. They can help provide school supplies, a Christmas gift or holiday party, a special birthday celebration, or they can help out kids who haven’t yet found a sponsor. Whatever way you choose, this can be a great way to teach your children the benefits of compassion and generosity toward others.
What if I’m not a sponsor yet?
If you are not yet a sponsor, don’t worry! You have the chance to involve your family from the very beginning. Let your children join you in choosing which child to sponsor. Maybe you can even find a child with the same birthday as your son or daughter!
Ministering together as a family can be a rewarding experience — one you won’t regret!
And sponsorship is a wonderful way to make a big impact in the world. By investing in the life of a child, you help give him or her the chance to break the cycle of poverty. You invest in that child’s family, community, and even his or her country. You truly make a difference that will last for eternity.
Thank you for your compassion for an impoverished child!