Is child sponsorship still relevant in 2021?

A young Thai girl is wearing a green and white shirt and playing on a playground with several other children.
Rev. Swanson is wearing a suit and tie and carrying a Korean toddler in his arms. They are both smiling.
Reverend Everett Swanson with a young Korean girl, Sim.

1. Child sponsorship is an investment — a worthy one.

In a world of quick-fixes and instant gratification, we know that ending poverty isn’t something that can happen overnight, but requires slow, transformative work. It requires long-term investments, like an investment in the life of child.

A Haitian boy stands in a green doorway wearing a blue t-shirt and smiling and posing, pointing his finger at the camera.

2. Compassion’s child sponsorship model works. It’s a highly effective way to fight poverty.

It seems basic, but it’s true: we wouldn’t do this if it didn’t work.

Pamela wears glasses and a blue jacket, standing and smiling in her classroom as students work at desks behind her.
Pamela, a Compassion alumna from Peru, is now a young adult with a passion for teaching.

3. Child sponsorship is empowering. Compassion’s model is always locally driven.

A common concern about child sponsorship is that it is paternalistic or exploitative. In the world of international development, that is always a risk that we need to constantly examine and interrogate. But it’s also important to know that there is a safeguard against this built right into Compassion’s model: our partnership with local churches.

A man in a red patterned shirt stands smiling and holding a Bible in front of Victory Outreach Church, a yellow building.
A local Compassion church partner in Uganda.
Tarchanee, a young Thai girl, is smiling and standing outside wearing a green and white shirt. Her friends are behind her.

4. Far from being stale, child sponsorship is an exciting way to fight poverty for everyone involved. It’s compelling, relational and breaks down barriers.

Okay, you might be thinking, child sponsorship is a worthy investment — it’s effective and empowering. But it’s just so yesterday. It’s something my parents did.

A young Honduran girl holds a flower pot with a bright green plant growing in it. She is smiling and wearing a white t-shirt.

5. Finally, child sponsorship is effective even in times of crisis and disaster, such as the COVID-19 crisis.

In the past year, our child sponsorship model was put to the test: would it continue to be effective in the face of a global crisis unlike anything we’ve faced before?

A Afro-Brazilian girl stands in front of a off-white wall, holding a bag of hygiene supplies.
Vitória, a sponsored child in Brazil, holds a hygiene kit provided by Compassion.

Answering the same question, 70 years later

When Everett Swanson first founded Compassion International, he likely had no idea what would become of it nearly 70 years later: in 2021, Compassion serves more than two million children and their families in 25 countries around the world. Our first program country, South Korea, where Reverend Swanson first felt the call to serve children in poverty, is now one of Compassion’s partner countries, with South Koreans sponsoring over 120,000 children.

A white sponsor kneels beside an Indonesian girl. Both are smiling and in front of a pink wall.
An Australian sponsor visits her sponsored child in Indonesia.



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Compassion Canada

Compassion Canada


A leading child development organization, Compassion helps children and their communities overcome extreme poverty.