Our new study, ‘Changing Lives: An analysis of Plan International’s Child Sponsorship Data’, analysed data collected from 2.7 million sponsored children over the past 12 years. It concludes that our sponsorship model transforms the lives of children.
But how do we transform the lives of each individual sponsored child?
Changing lives through education
In 1995 Evelyn’s mother decided to sign her up for Plan International’s sponsorship programme. Evelyn was 9 and her mother wanted to give her daughter a better life.
Through sponsorship Evelyn was able to access healthcare and was supported throughout her education.
I will never forget Plan International’s role in my life.
After learning English, she was enrolled on a scholarship programme.
“I was so happy to be in a town school, something I could never have hoped would happen to me,” Evelyn told us.
Our research shows that the earlier sponsorship starts the longer a child will stay in school.
For Evelyn this meant that she could go on to further study. Now she is a fully-qualified primary school teacher, who encourages her students, and three young children, to dream big.
“My parents, especially my mother, do not regret the decision to enrol me in the sponsorship programme. It made me what I am today. I will never forget Plan International’s role in my life.”
Changing the lives of the poorest children
The 'Changing Lives' study shows that 40% of sponsored children are multi-dimensionally poor. Twelve-year-old Layza is one of them. She lives in rural Maranhão state, Brazil, home to nearly 1,000 families who do not have access to basic healthcare or sanitation.
I can see the strength I have inside me. I just have to keep moving forward to get what I want.
There is only one school in this community and it can only teach the first few years of elementary school. Layza currently attends school, but if she wants to study further, she will have to pay to get the bus into the city every day.
Thankfully, Layza is sponsored by a Portuguese couple living in Australia.
“They are very nice people,” she says of them, “They take care of me, even from so far away. They ask me if I am studying, they participate in my life. It is very nice to receive care and attention from them as it motivates me to keep going.”
Despite her struggles, Layza appreciates her home and is very optimistic about her future. She wants to go to college and eventually get a job.
"Plan International has changed my life. I consider myself a very strong girl and now I can see the strength I have inside me. I just have to keep moving forward to get what I want.”
Sponsorship changes lives
Our Sponsorship research concludes that sponsorship transforms the lives of children. For Shamol, sponsorship has resulted in him becoming the Bangladeshi region of Gazipur’s first digital entrepreneur.
During his time as a sponsored child, Shamol took part in several Plan International-led projects. He learnt about his rights, child protection and, importantly, computer skills.
While taking part in a campaign urging people in Gazipur to register their children’s births, Shamol gained experience in computer programming and how to develop websites. Alongside this, he helped people fill in their birth registration applications accurately.
I want to do so many things and I am going to do all of them.
Later, Shamol found employment at the Rajabari Union Council Digital Centre where he designed a computer programme to train other young people in IT skills.
In terms of his future, Shamol says, “I want to do so many things and I am going to do all of them.”
He adds, “I am grateful to Plan International because they helped me to understand child rights, how to raise our voices, how to present a situation to others and how to be a good team player.”
Reaching vulnerable and excluded children
Our report shows that sponsorship reaches the most marginalised and vulnerable children from those living in slums to rural and indigenous communities. Sixty-one percent of them have been girls.
Learn more about how sponsorship transforms lives by reading the report.