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World-first May Revolutionize Child Sponsorship


  • Published: 2009-08-09 : Author: CBM
  • Synopsis: The program differs from other similar sponsorships by putting all donors in touch with a single symbolic child.

A New Zealand innovation has created a unique approach to sponsoring underprivileged children in developing countries. This world-first may revolutionize child sponsorship programs globally by maximizing direct support to recipients and radically minimizing administration costs.

World-first in New Zealand may revolutionize international child sponsorships globally

A New Zealand innovation has created a unique approach to sponsoring underprivileged children in developing countries. This world-first may revolutionize child sponsorship programs globally by maximizing direct support to recipients and radically minimizing administration costs.

International netballer and Magic defender Leana de Bruin will launch the CBM Child Disability Sponsorship program on 9 August by becoming its first sponsor.

The program differs from other similar sponsorships by putting all donors in touch with a single 'symbolic' child. Funds raised will support this child to address their disability, but will also be used to help other disabled children, and their families and local communities.

Every year, a new symbolic child will feature and donors will receive comprehensive information about their progress. This streamlined process enables donors to receive more detailed and meaningful information about the child than would normally be the case.

The sponsorship program is run by the world's largest disability charity, CBM, which works to serve people with disabilities in developing countries - regardless of their race, sex or religion. The international body works with partners in developing countries to help them become self-supporting and independent of foreign aid.

CBM's National Director Darren Ward says the program may be the catalyst to revolutionize child sponsorship donor programs worldwide because of the clever way it minimizes administration costs while still providing donors with an emotional connection with children who will benefit.

"Pairing individual donors with a unique child is a logistical enormity that is expensive to administer," says Mr Ward. "Engaging all sponsors with one symbolic child, who is real and has a clear and authentic need for cbm's transformational work, means that around 80 per cent of funds raised can be directly used to support children with disabilities."

Under this system everyone wins. The sponsor gains ongoing meaningful, multi-dimensional feedback about the child's progress; and disabled children, their families and communities get more funding. CBM also benefits by being able to use more resource on directly making a difference to people's lives and less on administration.

The program's first symbolic child is a six-year-old Ugandan boy named Fred. He was born with a cleft palate and his parents are too poor to afford medical care to fix it. Although many children like Fred die from infection or starve, he survived but was taunted, found it difficult to speak and was too scared to go to school.

His cleft palate has been repaired, creating major improvements to his appearance and self-confidence. A support program for the coming 12 months includes speech therapy, education and helping his parents to enhance their livelihoods.

The CBM Child Disability Sponsorship program is being pilot tested in New Zealand, then will be trialled in Canada and Germany, before being launched worldwide early next year.

"It costs very little - only $1 a day - to make a real impact on an impoverished, disabled child's life," says Mr Ward. "I hope this innovative sponsorship program motivates New Zealanders to help empower poor people who have disabilities."

Sponsors can sign on by visiting www.cbmnz.org.nz or calling toll free to 0800 77 22 64.

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