Frequently Asked Questions

Please call us at 1-800-678-2168 if you have further questions.

About World Vision Child Sponsorship

World Vision requests that monetary gifts not be sent directly to your sponsored child. There are several reasons for this.

Our National offices are not equipped to handle funds sent to them directly from sponsors, or to issue tax-exempt receipts. In some countries it is even against the law to have foreign currency in one's possession. Also, some postal systems are unreliable, and there is no guarantee that the monetary gifts will reach the intended recipient.

Child sponsorship is an opportunity to personally connect with a child, family, and community in need. You’ll walk alongside them as they work on lasting solutions to fight poverty and help vulnerable children reach their God-given potential.

When you become a child sponsor, you’ll start to build a relationship with one special child. You can connect with your child by writing letters and emails or sending cards and gifts. Knowing that someone far away cares about them and their future will be a great encouragement for a sponsored child.

World Vision’s decades of experience have proven that the most effective way to help a child is to strengthen the child’s entire community. We do this by pooling your monthly sponsorship donations with those of other sponsors in a community to provide the assistance that children and families living in poverty need most. Your generous donations will help the whole community have access to vital resources like clean water, nutritious food, healthcare, education, economic opportunities, and more.

Each community that we work with faces different challenges and has different needs, so the work we do is unique to each community. World Vision listens to the people in the community to understand the issues hindering children from reaching their full potential and partners with them to address their short-term and long-term needs. We also work with local groups—such as churches or government organizations—to build stronger communities.

In 2011, World Vision assisted more than 4.1 million sponsored children worldwide. Sponsors in the United States support about 1.1 million children; the rest are sponsored by people in more than 20 other countries, including Canada, Australia, Singapore, Great Britain and, in a few cases, the same country where the sponsored child lives.

With your monthly donation, you will help your sponsored child and other children in their community enjoy good health, be educated, cared for, protected, and participating in making their community a better place to live—and to love God and their neighbors.

Your monthly sponsorship gifts help provide the basic necessities that can help a child reach his or her God-given potential, including access to resources like clean water, better nutrition, basic healthcare, education, spiritual nurture, and economic opportunities for his or her family, the community, and other children in need.

Sponsorship also assists the entire community by providing benefits like new or restored water wells, new or renovated schools and health clinics, as well as improved agricultural training. Adults may receive vocational training in areas like tailoring and carpentry or may attend classes in nutrition and hygiene.

World Vision offers help in these areas and more–according to the needs of the community–because we believe the best way to change the life of a child is to change the community in which he or she lives.

Because proper nutrition and adequate healthcare are critical to children's development in their early years, World Vision Child Sponsorship works to help ensure that young children have access to these important resources, including nourishing food, clean water, and medicine. To give children a higher chance of survival even before birth, sponsorship projects strengthen healthcare services for pregnant mothers and provide them with a nutritious diet.

Newborns, babies, and toddlers living in developing countries face an immense challenge in their first days and months of life: living past their fifth birthday. Nearly 7.6 million children under the age of 5 die every year—more than 20,000 each day. Many of these child deaths are preventable through access to practical, low-cost interventions and effective primary care up to age 5.

Without access to adequate healthcare, many young children struggle to survive their early years:

  • More than 3 million children die in their first 28 days of life.
  • About 8 million children under 5 worldwide are severely malnourished.
  • Undernutrition contributes to more than one-third of child deaths.
  • Every two minutes, a child dies from malaria in Africa—the leading cause of death in that region among children under 5.

Despite these odds, World Vision believes that poverty and disease must not be reasons for a child to die before his or her fifth birthday. World Vision projects are designed to make sure that children have access to the essentials they need to celebrate their fifth birthday and beyond while living life in all its fullness — that they are healthy by local standards, receive appropriate education, and experience spiritual nurture.

Other goals are determined by what the children and community need most: clean water, improved sanitation, better income opportunities for parents, improved agricultural production, etc.

*Statistics from UNICEF & WHO, 2011

World Vision works in communities where our presence is requested and welcomed. Before a sponsorship project begins, World Vision workers meet with local community leaders to assess the needs in the community and determine appropriate and effective responses.

Together, we develop a plan for project areas and activities that will address their needs and priorities. A plan of operation with a proposed timeline, budget, specific goals, and objectives is created. This plan includes the number of children and families that will be assisted through the various components of the project. A majority of World Vision project staff are local residents who are best suited to evaluate and serve the needs of their community.

As World Vision earns trust and credibility within the community, community members participate in and take ownership of the projects. While projects are in progress, the work is evaluated to ensure it is having maximum impact. Within the last years, the community prepares to carry out the development work after World Vision leaves.

By partnering with local people in the project communities, World Vision empowers them to bring about change themselves and to sustain progress in their community long after the project goals they have established with World Vision have been achieved.

The answer to this is no, and yes.

No, because sponsorship donations from World Vision donors are pooled together to help all of the children within the community. The sponsorship program is a demonstration of God’s love for all children in a community—not just those fortunate ones who have sponsors. Our years of experience have shown us the best way to change a child’s life is to change the community in which they live.

Yes, because sponsored children can significantly benefit from the personal relationship they build with their sponsors. The cards, letters, and prayers they receive from their sponsors are a great source of encouragement and help children build self-esteem and realize their self-worth in a world where poverty tells them that they don’t matter.

Also, in some cases, certain benefits are exclusive to the sponsored child and not available to other children or adults in the community. For example, a sponsored child may receive help in paying for her school tuition and school uniform, while non-sponsored siblings and friends would not receive paid tuition or uniforms.

On the other hand, World Vision may work with the community to build a school and the teacher's salary may be paid with sponsorship funds. This would benefit all of the children in the community.

 

World Vision helps children, families and their communities by supporting sustainable, long-term development projects.

Sustainable development work takes time—approximately 15 years. World Vision may stay in a community for less than 15 years, or longer, depending on when the development goals we set out to achieve have been completed. However, at times World Vision may have to leave a community or country because local conditions—often involving political issues or stability—have changed.

Because we want to ensure that children continue to flourish after we leave, our exit is planned from the start. From the very beginning of our sponsorship projects, we work with the community to build lasting systems that will enable them to maintain and build on what has been achieved so their children can continue to thrive after the World Vision project has ended.

We work with communities to establish priorities and the time it will take to achieve the goals. Addressing the root causes of poverty involves building trusting relationships, breaking mindsets, changing attitudes, and providing tools, skills, and training.

The goal of sponsorship in a community is to help break the cycle of poverty so children and families can step into the future with well-founded hope. When these goals are met, World Vision can move on to serve children with great need in other communities.

Sponsorship is a long-term commitment; however, the length of each sponsorship depends on the needs of the child and their community. The longest you might sponsor a child is until they’ve reached age 21, but your child’s age of independence or circumstances will vary from country to country. Sponsorship may end for any of the following reasons:

  • The community has "graduated." The goal of sponsorship is to help break the cycle of poverty so children and families can step into the future with well-founded hope. When sustainability goals are met, projects are phased out and World Vision moves on to serve children in great need in other communities. This is a time for celebration!
  • The child becomes self-sufficient. In many cases, children are sponsored until they finish school, reach the age of independence in their community, are able to support themselves, or marry.
  • The family has moved to a different community. Occasionally, circumstances arise that mean a child must leave the sponsorship program. For example, a child's family may move out of the community to an area where World Vision child sponsorship is not available.

If circumstances change and your child is no longer available for sponsorship, World Vision will notify you and send you a precious new child in need to begin sponsoring.

Wherever World Vision works, we identify ourselves as a Christian organization. We are honored to have a distinct role in building God’s kingdom. That role is to demonstrate God's love and care in the world. We believe that bearing witness to Christ is every Christian’s responsibility. We demonstrate our faith in various ways – by who we are and how we live, what we do, the words we use to express our faith, and by pointing to God's work (i.e., life, deed, word, and sign).

As followers of Jesus, we serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Every day, children and families see God’s love through the care provided by our field staff. Whenever communities and their countries welcome it, and in ways that are appropriate, we verbally share our faith and provide opportunities for children and families to learn more about Jesus.

In communities where Christianity is practiced, we work closely with local churches to help provide children and their families with spiritual nurture activities like vacation Bible school, the distribution of Bibles to those who desire them, and more.

Churches often are one of the few stable institutions in these communities. They play a critical role in both spiritual and social development, and it is the Church that will nurture the faith of new believers. Churches also help World Vision staff to understand the community and its needs, and provide staff and volunteers. And churches continue to care for communities long after our work is completed.

Sponsors also have a vital role: praying for the child, family, and community.

Often sponsored children and their families, after being touched by the love and care of World Vision staff, have asked questions about our faith; many have come to share it. Yet, World Vision believes that only God can change hearts. Our role in the kingdom is to be faithful to His command to serve the poor. In communities where Christian teachings are not welcomed, we abide by local laws and customs while endeavoring to show respect and honor to those of different faiths.

World Vision's dedicated staff strive to model Jesus' example of love to children and the entire community in everything we do.

If you have any other questions about your child's spiritual teaching, please call us at 1.800.777.5777.

World Vision's sponsorship program reaches out to children in need in developing countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Some countries that are further along in their development don't require World Vision's assistance.

Life for children in need living in the developing world can be very harsh. They lack the basics—food, water, clothing, and access to education—and, many times, have no protection from being exploited or abused under weak laws or oppressive cultural traditions.

World Vision sponsorship focuses on bringing sustainable development to sponsored children and their communities. In places where there is an appropriate level of political and societal stability, World Vision’s sponsorship program allows us to build sustainable development that provides children with benefits like education, healthcare, and improved nutrition, as well as income-generating activities for families.

Frequently, people in need live in places where political and social stability do not exist. In these countries, World Vision is unable to provide long-term assistance through sponsorship due to security risks or unstable socio-political environments, or when children and their families are displaced to refugee or transit camps. In these situations, even though conditions can’t support the long-term development goals of sponsorship, World Vision still addresses the needs of children and families, whenever possible, through relief operations.

World Vision's approach recognizes that the family and the child's community have the primary responsibility and desire to provide a secure and full life for the child. Unfortunately, poverty often prevents families or communities from fulfilling this responsibility and desire. The only lasting solution is to help those living in poverty bring about fundamental changes in their situations.

We believe true community development is not about providing money or even services. It lies in helping people discover their God-given potential as human beings, and working together to realize that potential. Fundamental to this is spiritual transformation that instills hope and promise for the future.

Technical help and funding in areas like health, agriculture, water resources, sanitation, nutrition, and income generation are important, but the underlying foundation of community development work is motivation and community organization — something a simple cash handout can’t provide.

God loves all children. At World Vision, we believe that sponsoring a child in any religious or ideological context is an extraordinary privilege. Child sponsorship provides an opportunity to live out our Christian faith by caring for those in need regardless of their situation. We feel blessed to serve and bring hope to any precious child who lives in extreme poverty and to help that child reach his or her God-given potential.

World Vision was founded on Christian and Biblical principles and follows Jesus' example in helping the poor. Every day, children and families throughout the world see God's love through the care provided by our field staff. More than 1.1 million children in 50 countries are sponsored through World Vision U.S. Our intent is to demonstrate God's love to all children regardless of their religious or cultural background so that they might have a better life and personally experience God's love. Often times, World Vision's ministry is the only Christian influence a community or country will experience.

World Vision supports verbal proclamation of the Gospel whenever it is possible. However, in some cases this is forbidden in the countries where we serve.

World Vision works in a wide range of contexts and communities, from those where Christians are free to express their faith, to others where they may face imprisonment or even death for speaking about Christianity. We practice and communicate our faith in ways that are sensitive and appropriate for the audience and the cultural context in which we work. But we never deny our Christian faith.

World Vision serves all people, regardless of their faith. We work in communities where we are welcome, including many where other faiths are practiced. We respect the communities where we work, while making it clear that we are a Christian organization. Our staff seek to pray for all people to whom they minister and hope, in restricted contexts, that their lives and deeds will be testimony to the power of the Gospel.

In some countries and communities where Christianity has a small presence, World Vision may hire staff of other faiths. However, these staff members follow our core values, and World Vision always is identified as a Christian organization. Our staff works hard to ensure that the way they live, the words they use, and the deeds they do point others to a loving God.

Yes, your sponsorship contributions will be used to benefit your sponsored child and their community.  World Vision combines sponsorship donations to support community-based projects that improve the well-being of all children, including your sponsored child.

World Vision also leverages funds from child sponsorship, one-time donations, goods donated by corporations, and government grants to ensure that all gifts entrusted to us have maximum impact. In 2011, 86 percent of all the contributions entrusted to us went towards programs that help children, their families, and communities in need.

We place a special priority on helping vulnerable children. Representatives from the community work with World Vision staff to identify and prioritize areas of greatest need. The community selects the girls and boys for the child sponsorship program from those areas, and families are asked if they want to be part of the sponsorship program. Sponsored children serve to link sponsors with the entire community in the World Vision sponsorship program.

Understanding How Child Sponsorship Works

Yes! Being a child sponsor is also about building a wonderful friendship. Exchanging letters, cards, or emails is a great way to connect with your sponsored child. Be sure to ask your child some questions to get the conversation started! Visit the “Send a Letter” page for ideas on what to write.

You may send letters to your sponsored child at the National Office address located on your child's picture folder, which you received in your sponsorship welcome kit. You can also find the address by signing in to your my World Vision account and visiting the “Send a Letter” page.

Note: For the protection of the children, sponsors, and our staff, we read letters that are exchanged between sponsors and their sponsored children. The letters are reviewed to ensure people do not threaten children, put their lives in danger, or try to develop inappropriate relationships.

In many of the countries where we work, Christian expression is restricted so we monitor the letters to make sure nothing written could endanger the child or family. We also review letters to our sponsors to ensure they do not receive inappropriate solicitation of funds from children's families.

If your sponsored child lives in a country where Christianity is restricted, we will notify you. Please see your Welcome Kit or visit the “Send a Letter” page for writing tips on what topics to avoid.

If you are a corporation that sponsors children, or if you sponsor more than 15 children, please use this special link to email your sponsored children.

Because your sponsored child may live in a remote location, delivering and receiving a reply to your letter may take three to four months. But the joy of hearing from your child is well worth the wait!

World Vision works in communities that are impoverished and often are located in areas difficult to get to—far from the highways or any other forms of rapid communication with the outside world. Many rural areas do not have phones, internet or, at times, even postal service.

There are also other reasons why it takes time to deliver and receive letters:

  • Only a handful of project workers and staff members supervise the writing and delivery of these letters—in addition to all of their other responsibilities for providing services to the children in the community.
  • Most sponsored children have never written a letter, and they need assistance writing to their sponsors. If your sponsored child is unable to read or write, someone must help them read your letter and write out the response, which takes time. This person may be a school teacher, a family member, or a World Vision staff member. If your child has received assistance with writing, there will be a special note on the letter.
  • Once the letter is written, it must be delivered to World Vision’s National Office in your sponsored child’s country, then be translated to English. In many developing countries, transportation can be a challenge and travel may be interrupted or impossible during certain times of year due to heavy rains and flooding. Also, often the child's village is remote and can require World Vision staff to travel by foot to deliver or collect a letter. All of this can take a substantial amount of time.

We hope this helps to explain why communication between you and your sponsored child may require some patience and time. However, if you do not receive a reply from your child within four months after you have written, please let us know by calling 1.800.777.5777. We will then check for you with the National Office in your sponsored child's country.

If your child lives in an area that welcomes Christianity, please feel free to share your faith and spiritual encouragement with your child.

However, if your child lives in a community where Christian expression is restricted, please do not refer to Jesus or send Christian tracts or Scripture in your messages. Doing so could jeopardize World Vision’s work in your child’s country, or even endanger the child or our staff. Please look for the Sensitive Area Alert icon under your child’s picture on the “Send a Letter” page in My World Vision for more explanation.

Yes! Your child will be thrilled to receive small inexpensive items that fit into a 6"x9" envelope. Visit the “Send a Package” page for ideas on what to send and how to address your package.

Important Note: Some sponsors may want to send Christian tracts, Scripture verses, or references to Jesus. Please do not send these items if your child lives in a community that may not welcome Christian teachings.

Sponsors whose children are in these communities were informed of these sensitivities in their sponsorship welcome kit. Please look for the Sensitive Area Alert icon under your child’s picture on the “Send a Letter” page in My World Vision for more explanation. If you have any doubts about what is appropriate in your child's community, please call us at 1.800.777.5777. We ask for the child's protection and the protection of our staff that you use sensitivity when sending items.

Yes! Meeting your sponsored child face-to-face can be an exciting and moving event for both of you. If you ever wish to do so, we're here to help you. Be sure to contact our U.S. office at least three months in advance of your trip at 1.888.200.3075.

Our priority is to make sure children are safe. We work with police advisors and child welfare agencies, nationally and internationally, to develop strong child protection policies and services. All World Vision staff and visitors must submit a background check.

Due to our child protection requirements, you will need to fill out a "Request to Visit My Sponsored Child" application and a "Protection of Children Release Form," and complete a background check through World Vision. Once your visit is approved, a staff member will be assigned to act as your guide and interpreter and must accompany you at all times during your visit. Go to the “Visit Your Child” for more information on the visit process.

Each year, we’ll send you a progress report in the mail updating you about your child’s health and educational status. This report will also include a new photo, so you can watch your child grow up.

If it’s been more than a year since you last received a progress report, we will be glad to communicate with the national office for you. Please call us at 1.800.777.5777.

You’ll also receive an annual newsletter highlighting the achievements your sponsored child’s community has made with the help of your support, as well as a Christmas or a New Year's card from your child.

If you’d like to help your child and their family meet extra needs in their lives, you can provide a Special Gift for them. The funds you send could buy a goat, school supplies, clothing, or another much-needed item. Local World Vision staff will help your child’s family in selecting appropriate gifts.

Please visit the Special Gift page or call us at 1.800.777.5777 to give a Special Gift today. To ensure the best stewardship of our staff's time and resources, such gifts must be $100 at minimum or $1,000 at maximum. Your gift will be used to purchase the item(s) in the child's country, saving shipping and other logistical costs as well as helping to improve the economy in that local area. Because the whole community is struggling to beat poverty in the areas where we work, any portion of your gift over $200 will be used to purchase something that will benefit others in the community as well.

Throughout the year, World Vision will mail you fun greeting cards that you can sign and return for delivery to your sponsored child. They’re a great way to encourage and connect with your child.

Children love to receive these colorful cards from their sponsors. Visit the “Send a Card” page to learn more about the cards.

A $5 donation is suggested to help cover the costs of handling and mailing the cards, but this donation isn’t required in order for the card to be forwarded to your sponsored child.

We print messages on the cards primarily in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Swahili because these are the primary languages spoken in our World Vision offices around the world. Our staff translates the card into the local dialects of the children.

When writing your letter, it's important to consider your sponsored child's environment and culture. For example, it’s best not to write about the things you own since your child might have very few possessions.

Also, if your child lives in a community where Christian expression is restricted, please do not refer to Jesus or send Christian tracts or Scripture in your messages. Doing so could jeopardize World Vision’s work in your child’s country, or even endanger the child or our staff. Please look for the Sensitive Area Alert icon under your child’s picture on the “Send a Letter” page in My World Vision for more explanation.

At World Vision, we are fully committed to ensuring that children and their families are protected from the fear or reality of any physical or emotional abuse. This could result from inappropriate and unsafe Internet and social media use, including the sharing of private information about a child and their family. Because of this, we ask all sponsors to abide by the following standards while participating in World Vision’s sponsorship program:

  1. Refrain from any direct, unmonitored communication with your sponsored child or family without our knowledge. This includes contact through the Internet or social media (including instant message, Facebook, Skype, Twitter, etc.). Note that World Vision does not, under any circumstances, allow visits to the child’s residence or community that have not been coordinated by World Vision staff.
  2. Do not post your sponsored child’s last name or child ID number on the Internet or social media sites.
  3. For both their security and yours, please let us know immediately of any contact initiated by your sponsored child or family that makes you feel uncomfortable.

For more information on safe Internet and social media use, please visit myworldvision.org/childsafety.

Additional Questions about Child Sponsorship

We appreciate your interest in having your sponsored child visit the United States. However, World Vision does not permit sponsored children to visit the U.S. for several reasons, including:

  • The safety and well-being of the child
  • The culture shock experienced by the child
  • The child's readjustment to his or her own lifestyle can be difficult

If you would like to spend time with your sponsored child, perhaps you’ll consider planning a visit to your child's country. Please call us at 1.888.200.3075 if you’d like to visit your child, or go to the “Visit My Child” page.

 

Yes! We encourage sponsors to correspond with their sponsored children. Sending small, inexpensive items that fit into a 6"x9" envelope is a great way to let your child know you are thinking about him or her.

Your envelopes and packages should be sent to the same address (i.e., the national office address) you use to mail letters to your sponsored child. Be sure to include your child's name and ID number on the back of the envelope or package and with the contents.

What to send:
Here are some small items that sponsored children especially enjoy and that fit into a 6"x9" envelope. Use your imagination to come up with others!

  • Stickers
  • Bandannas
  • Pencils
  • Picture Postcards
  • Hair ribbons
  • Bookmarks
  • Coloring Books
  • Small puzzles
  • Paper airplanes
  • Balloons
  • Small notebooks or pads of paper
  • Colored pencils and a sharpener
  • Handmade items (small paintings, flat craft projects)
  • Drawings made by children, grandchildren, or children at your church

What not to send

  • Jewelry
  • Crayons, which could melt
  • Toys or other items that appear expensive
  • Keepsakes or items of great sentimental value
  • Money of any currency, which could be confiscated
  • Food and candy

Important Note: Some sponsors may want to send Christian tracts, Scripture verses, or references to Jesus. Please do not send these items if your child lives in a community that may not welcome Christian teachings. (Sponsors whose children are in these communities were informed of these sensitivities in their sponsorship welcome kit. If you have any doubts about what is appropriate in your child's community, please call us at 1.800.777.5777.) We ask for the child's protection and the protection of our staff that you use sensitivity when sending items.

World Vision requests that monetary gifts not be sent directly to your sponsored child. There are several reasons for this.

Our National offices are not equipped to handle funds sent to them directly from sponsors, or to issue tax-exempt receipts. In some countries it is even against the law to have foreign currency in one's possession. Also, some postal systems are unreliable, and there is no guarantee that the monetary gifts will reach the intended recipient.

World Vision mails greeting cards to sponsors five or six times a year, giving them opportunity to use these cards to send a special message to their sponsored child. 

Normally a $5 donation is suggested to help cover the costs of handling and mailing the cards, but this donation is not required in order for the card to be forwarded to your sponsored child.

We print messages on the cards primarily in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Swahili because these are the primary languages spoken in our World Vision offices around the world. Our staff translates the card into the local dialects of the children. When possible, we will include some sayings such as, Happy Birthday, in your child's specific language or when translations are not available, the language of the region where your sponsored child lives.

One of the easiest ways to communicate is by sending an email to your sponsored child. Visitwww.worldvision.org/emailmychild to write and send the message. The emails will be sent to the National Office in your sponsored child's country, where it will be printed out, translated, and delivered to your child. And, your child will respond via standard mail.

There are several reasons why it takes time to receive letters:


  • World Vision works with children and communities that are impoverished. The poor often live in remote locations — far from the highways or any other forms of rapid communication with the outside world. Many rural areas do not have phones, internet or, at times, even postal service. 
  • A handful of project workers and staff members supervise the writing and delivery of these letters — in addition to all of their other responsibilities for providing services to the children in the community.
  • Most sponsored children have never written a letter, and they need assistance writing to their sponsors. If your sponsored child is unable to read or write, someone must help her or him read your letter and write out the response. This person may be a school teacher, a family member, or a World Vision staff member. If your child has received assistance with writing, there will be a special note on the letter, which indicates this. This sometimes slows the letter response process.
  • Once the letter is written, it must be delivered to World Vision’s National Office in your sponsored child’s country in order to then be translated to English. In many developing countries, transportation can be a challenge and travel may be interrupted or impossible during certain times of year due to heavy rains and flooding. In addition, often the child's village is remote and can require World Vision staff to travel by foot to deliver or collect a letter. All of this can take a substantial amount of time.

We hope this helps to explain why communication between you and your sponsored child may require some patience and time. However, if you do not receive a reply from your child within four months after you have written, please let us know. We will then check for you with the National Office in your sponsored child's country.

Being a child sponsor is not only about providing financial support. We encourage sponsors to get to know the child they are sponsoring. Exchanging letters is a great way to build a relationship. 

You may send cards and letters to your sponsored child at the National Office address located on your child's picture folder which you received in your sponsorship welcome kit. Sending correspondence through the National Office in your sponsored child’s country enables our staff there to maintain required correspondence records and also protects your privacy.

For the protection of the children, sponsors, and our staff, we do read letters that are exchanged between sponsors and their sponsored children. The letters are reviewed to ensure people do not threaten children, put their lives in danger, or try to develop inappropriate relationships. In many of the countries where we work, Christian expression is restricted so we monitor the letters to make sure nothing written could endanger the child or family. We also review letters to our sponsors to ensure they do not receive inappropriate solicitation of funds from children's families. 

If your sponsored child lives in a country where Christianity is restricted, we will notify you. Please see your Welcome Kit for writing tips to help you learn how best to correspond with your child in these situations.

Our overseas staff or community volunteers will translate your letters into your child's language and give both your letter and the translation to the child to keep. These individuals also will help your sponsored child respond to your letter if the child is too young to write or has a disability that prevents him or her from writing, 

Receiving a letter from your sponsored child typically takes several months. Letters must be monitored, translated, and often delivered to and from remote areas, so please be patient. 

You also can send an email to your sponsored child. To send a message, simply have your World Vision account number, child ID number, and child’s full name handy and go to www.worldvision.org/emailmychild. The local World Vision office will deliver a printed copy of your e-mail to your child. Though the child will not be able to respond by e-mail, he or she will be excited and encouraged to receive your message — and will send you a response via regular mail.

No; resources available in developing countries are different from those in the U.S.

World Vision works with the local government in your sponsored child's country to give access to healthcare and education and to improve the lives of children in the communities where we serve.

For example, clean water is something we largely take for granted in the U.S., but unsafe water is the biggest threat to the health and life of a child living in a developing country. World Vision often finds that the most urgent need for local children is a well or pump that can provide a continuous source of clean, life-giving water. While work is being done to assure clean water, sponsorship funds can be used for other health needs such as immunizations, building a medical clinic or dispensary, nutrition training classes for parents, improving agricultural productivity, or improving sanitation or latrines.

While free education is standard in the U.S., access to any type of education in many developing countries may be limited. Each family and community will uniquely address the best way to improve educational opportunities for sponsored children. For example, in an urban slum, this might mean that sponsorship funds are used to provide uniforms, shoes, and books so that sponsored children can attend local schools. In a remote village in Africa, sponsorship funds might be used to build a small home so that a teacher will come to live in the village.

No. World Vision helps children within the context of their families and communities and does not facilitate adoptions, but refers prospective parents to reputable organizations certified to be in compliance with the Hague Convention by the Council on Accreditation and listed on the State Department Web site.

World Vision believes God's concern for the poor extends to all children, including those living in the United States. However, because of cultural and economic differences, we believe the needs of children in the U.S. can best be met through programs other than sponsorship.

For more than 20 years, World Vision has partnered with U.S. churches, schools, businesses, and communities to help children and their families living in poverty through work that focuses on linking mentors and tutors with struggling children and youth; providing local churches and ministries with additional skills and resources to help their communities; and distributing donated goods to families, churches, and other groups in low-income communities.

In some cases, this means providing subsidized educational supplies to children in poor neighborhoods in inner cities. In other places, at-risk teenagers are provided play and other entertainment facilities, as well as counseling and rehabilitation programs.

World Vision assists the needy in the United States through projects in urban areas such as in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle/Tacoma, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Washington, D.C., and Dallas, TX. In addition, we also have ministry in rural areas like Albany, Georgia, Picayune, Mississippi, and the Appalachian area of West Virginia. Click here to learn more about World Vision’s U.S. programs.

On rare occasions there may be conflicting information about a sponsored child; however, our staff is committed to providing sponsors with accurate, error-free information.

World Vision staff process hundreds of thousands of child sponsorship files, letters, and photos each year. With this large volume, human error sometimes can occur no matter how hard we work to eliminate it. Very often, English is a second or third language for members of our international staff, and translating letters and information from a child’s native language to English can be challenging. In other cases, the local language may have unique characteristics such as not distinguishing between genders. In addition, children in your sponsored child’s community may not have both a first and last name as we have come to expect in our culture.

Also, in the case of some cultures, families tend to be close, so if the parents have passed away, the child may go to live with other family members, like an aunt or an uncle. Many times, the child will begin referring to these relatives as they would their parents. So, when a child signs up for sponsorship, they may say that they're living with their parents, when in actuality, it's another family member.

These types of issues can all cause confusion in translation, correspondence, and reporting. We will notify you as soon as possible if we discover an error.

We work to improve the lives of vulnerable children in the community, whether they are orphans or not. Not all children enrolled in sponsorship are orphans, but many have lost one or both parents, especially children living in communities impacted by HIV and AIDS.

There are many reasons HIV and AIDS can make children vulnerable, including the following reasons:

  • When one or both parents have died and left young children, extended family members often take in and care for these children. So, a sponsored child may not be an orphan, but his or her home may have additional children living there and stretching already meager resources.
  • Parents may be alive, but too sick to care for their children. In fact, the children often end up taking care of their parents.
  • The child lives in an area that is at high risk of being impacted by the AIDS epidemic. These children have lost school teachers to the disease and schools have closed. Or the area itself may have declining food sources because many of the farmers are too ill to grow crops or they have passed away.
More about Your Donations to World Vision and Our Work

The children with whom we work live in harsh and difficult circumstances. Sponsorship allows us to introduce social and economic benefits which foster stability in the lives of these children, and advocacy addresses laws and systems to ensure that children are supported and highly valued.

In many cases, an important part of our work involves dealing with local laws and deeply entrenched traditions in which children are not as highly valued. We also work with the U.S. government to influence and support legislation that has a positive impact on children and poor communities around the world.

Raising these issues with local governments, the media, and church groups in sponsorship countries allows us to address the root causes of poverty and injustice and champion the cause of children in order to increase support and change oppressive traditions and institutions. Our advocacy efforts in the U.S. work to ensure that government leaders here remember the needs of the children we serve and enact legislation aimed at improving their well-being.

In both large and small governments, and in industrialized countries or those that are still developing, advocacy can move officials and politicians to enforce laws that protect the rights of children and to actively support causes that improve their lives. In some countries, our joint advocacy with other key groups has led to laws being changed to help and protect children.

Our responsibility to advocate is found in Proverbs 31:8-9: "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy."

World Vision is a founding member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), the leading financial integrity-accrediting body for Christian non-profit organizations.

In addition, World Vision meets the nine standards for fundraising of the National Charities Information Bureau (NCIB), which focuses on charities in the U.S. being financially accountable to the public. World Vision is re-certified every year as complying with each of the nine standards.

World Vision also complies with standards set by The Council for Better Business Bureaus' (CBBB) Wise Giving Alliance. This organization publishes a comprehensive 22-point list of standards for philanthropic organizations. These standards fall under the categories of public accountability, use of funds, solicitation and informational materials, fundraising practices and governance.

In fiscal year 2011, 99 percent of World Vision's budget was composed of cash and product donations from individuals, churches, corporations, and foundations:

  • 53%=private contributions from individuals (including child sponsors), churches, corporations, and foundations
  • 27%=gifts-in-kind (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, clothing and shoes, school supplies and educational materials, personal hygiene items, sporting goods and toys, building supplies, tools, and furnishings donated from corporations and other private donors)
  • 19%=public grants

To request a copy of our detailed Annual Report, please call 1.888.511.6598.

Gifts to World Vision, a 501(c)(3) organization, qualify as charitable contributions and are tax-deductible. Whether or not a particular gift to World Vision is fully tax-deductible may depend on your own financial situation. You should contact a tax advisor if you have any questions.

You can print a current tax receipt by signing into your My World Vision account and going the “Giving History” page in the My Giving & Account tab.

If you have any questions or need help with your My World Vision account, please call: 1-800-678-2168

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World Vision
Phone: 1-800-678-2168
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way,WA 98063-9716
© 2014 World Vision Inc.
World Vision, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible in full or in part.