questionsdoes anyone sponsor a child from a developing…

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One organization I'm looking at is a Christian mission service which provides schooling, medical insurance, supplies, shoes and clothing to a child for $39 a month. They are the Africa New Life Ministries based out of Portland, OR (http://africanewlife.org/sponsorship/). Ideally, the organization I choose would allow me to have some communication with the child besides a monthly check, or perhaps even allow me to send them letters/small gifts through the charity.

Anyone happen to sponsor through this group? Their financial report looks good, they seem to have a good track record, and I like where the money goes, but again, there is that hesitation of the role of the "Monthly Christian activities". I don't want to force a family to be Christian or call themselves Christian so their child can wear shoes. Does it matter?

Any input from folks here would be greatly appreciated.

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Have never done this, but I've always been interested in it. I applaud you for your research, and await other's responses. Thank you for this question!

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My wife and I have two, one in the DR and the other in India. We go through compassion international. They are a great organization and very transparent with how they handle your money. The best part is getting to write to the kids quarterly or more and get letters from them. Last month was our girl in India’s birthday so we sent her some extra funds (you can do this for Christmas and others holidays too) and she told us she got some new clothes to wear to church and candy to share with her friends. It’s amazing how kids with so little still want to share so much.

They are a very Christian organization which is great for us to support but may not be for you. But if you want a personal relationship with your sponsored child there is no better organization I’ve found.

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I guess I'm not against anyone else doing it, but I believe change in other countries- or anywhere, for that matter- must come from within. I've done microloans through Kiva for aobut as long as they've been around, and will do what I can in that respect- helping others help themselves- as long as I am able.

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You shouldn't donate if they have a lot of TV ads, as TV ads aren't free and that's probably where at least some of your donation money is going. I also wouldn't support any organisation that's involved in telemarketing whatsoever.

As with any charitable donation, make sure you do your homework and make certain they're fully legit (just checking their website, etc isn't enough). There's a lot of scams in the charity world and even a lot of those that aren't scams have undesirable consequences.

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Call me overly skeptical, but having worked with enough non-profits to know where the money actually goes leaves me not too confident little paola with the cleft lip is actually getting helped.

One of my coworkers ran a from-home non profit for a born again christian group, and he made thrice annually trips to africa with shareholders.. sounds good so far right? He'd also take in a hunting safari or 3, flew 1st class or private where available, stayed in the very best of accommodations, showed a lot of pamphlets and literature, but never once visted the impoverished they were supposedly helping... and was, in general, the biggest sack of lying excrement i've ever known... he had a used car salesman snake attitude, except he was selling guilt and using the poor and destitute to do it.

That said - there are some organizations that help. The UNF (united nations foundation) is a great way to connect with worthwhile causes. Sally Struthers can kiss my ass.

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I'm not Christian, and I don't fund anything that's church-oriented or advertised as "sponsor an [individual] child." Like @havocsback, however, I've been making micro-finance loans via Kiva for years. Lending through Kiva lets me make a specific family's life better, by helping the mom or dad improve their small business. Under Kiva's set-up, each lender funds $25 of the total amount requested; when the loan is paid off, I can have my $25 back or I can reinvest with another borrower. I've made over 40 loans, my total rolling investment is $200, and I love the feeling that I'm helping the world, one family at a time. If you're interested, contact www.kiva.org.

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I sponsor a boy in India through World Vision. It is a Christian organization, which works for me as that lines up with my beliefs. I do know that they are very careful about being overtly religious in more closed countries (countries which persecute/have issues with Christians...and India is one of those countries).

With World Vision you can write and send small gifts to your sponsored child. You can even email. Pretty sure they translate the email and then send it on. And I regularly get responses back from my child. I really like that aspect of the program. They also send you cards you write a little note on and send on to your sponsored child at various holidays, the start of school and such.

World Vision also does a lot in areas of disaster and critical need in addition to child sponsorship.

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Here is compassion's financial report, might be worth looking at if anyone is wondering. http://www.compassion.com/about/financial.htm

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Thanks for the responses, everyone.

I think I have researched it enough to decide who I'm going to go with.

To the skeptics, I suppose visiting is the only real way to know your child is being helped, but through the information provided from the company I bought my bag from as well as the information I've found on and from the organization, it looks like the one I'm choosing provides explicitly for medical care and education of young kids, hoping to help them break the cycle of impoverished dwelling in their village forever. This organization's finances appear to be consistent with similar charities (79% of funds go to program finances, 21% to fundraising, travel and administrative costs)

Perhaps not for everyone, but I think I've made a good decision. Thanks everyone!