The Impact of Child Sponsorship
Together we’ve impacted the lives of over 200 million vulnerable children by tackling the root causes of poverty.
Twice a week, Zhu, 16, walks three hours across a mountain pass, through streams and over rocks to create a better future for herself and her remote ethnic minority community.
“The first time I walked along this path, I was so scared that I cried almost the entire time,” says Zhu. “So did the other kids who walked with me.”
Zhu first made the trip when she started school as a 7-year-old, and has been making it most weeks since then.
This sunny view quickly shifts to darkness, rain, heat or snow, which all make the unfenced paths by a deep reservoir very slippery for Zhu and her friends to make their way home from Huanzhou boarding school.
For Zhu, the three hour walk is the difference between working in the fields like her parents or one day becoming a teacher.
“I want to go out and see the bigger world.”
World Vision programme officer, Yan, describes Zhu's village as a “large ethnic minority population in remote mountains and in deep poverty. Because of its location on the earthquake zone, drought and flood can exist at the same time.”
In 2012, when World Vision partnered with Zhu's community and began the Child Sponsorship programme, making the track safer was the most critical need to be addressed.
Together, they overhauled the track so that children just like Zhu could pass safely.
World Vision's approach to sponsorship is unique as it works from the inside out as well as the outside in. Sponsorship starts with the child themselves which simultaneously strengthens the community allowing all children to benefit.
So far, they have focused on water and sanitation; preparing for the floods, droughts and earthquakes that are common in the region; added classrooms to the school where Zhu attends, and undertaken health initiatives.
"A life outside the family farm starts with an education."
– Zhu's Sponsor, Amy from Hong Kong
Most of the families in Zhu’s village are farmers growing corn and vegetables which they eat themselves, and supply to the market to sell. Parents traditionally do not earn much and find it difficult providing for their children’s school needs.
Child Sponsorship has helped through assisting in school fees and supplies, as well as facilitating activities to help the schools promote quality education.
A cultural recreation centre was also built. Zhu and her friends now have a safe place to play. This is where she learned to play basketball and has developed a passion for the sport – one she’s determined to play as well as any boy.
Prior this this, adults in the village never considered that a priority. They believed if a child wasn’t studying, then they should be working, not playing.
Zhu’s father says that sentiment has shifted with parents understanding how important play is for children, and seeing the outcome as children now have facilities where they can play safely.
Zhu’s father has watched his daughter flourish since she became a sponsored child in 2012, and says she has become less introverted, more confident, and developed a lifelong reading habit.
Zhu’s father has attended a number of the parenting workshops as a result of the community partnership to learn more about raising children – including their rights – skills he says have helped him build a great relationship with his daughter.
“Many villagers never really knew how to raise their children, nor did I. After World Vision came to this village, I attended many workshops where I learned about child protection and parenting... I make friends with my daughter, our relationship is different from that between most parents and children in my village.”
– Zhu's Father
The love and support Zhu has from her father are what World Vision staff want all the children there to feel.
His dream for his daughter? “I just want her to be happy. As long as she is happy, I am happy.”
Sponsor the next Zhu, today!
Each country has its own World Vision Child Sponsorship website. Select your country to sponsor the next Zhu below: