Christianity Today has published one of the most startling landmark articles in many years. If you read nothing else about helping children this year, this rather lengthy article should be on the top of the list.
Let me summarize this long study. Dr. Bruce Wydick is an Economics professor at the University of San Francisco. In this article, he tells the story of several graduate students who have completed a five-year study looking into the effectiveness of child sponsorship programs in the Developing World. You can read the entire study here.
As I read this, several details stood out strongly:
- These graduate students sought to study a number of agencies who provide money through sponsors. Only one organization agreed to be studied: Compassion International. That tells me several things. First, they are probably the only organization of this kind that keep their own records and were therefore comfortable with being studied. Second, the other organizations showed antipathy toward the idea of being studied, which means they are more afraid of their funding drying up (if the studies are not favorable) than they are in making sure they are being effective.
- The study concluded that children who receive sponsorship are up to 80% more likely to go to college and graduate than unsponsored children.
- Children who are sponsored are shown to have significantly better viewpoints on what they want to do for a living when they grow up. They also show higher levels of contentment in life and less pessimism about the future.
- Sponsored children have lower rates of suicide, depression and violence done against them.
- Sponsored children with unsponsored siblings are more than three times more likely to grow up to be the family’s primary bread-winner.
This study has been scrutinized by over a dozen universities since it was produced and each of them has ratified the methodology used. This means that at least as far as Compassion International in concerned, one of the best ways you can change the Developing World is to sponsor a child on a monthly basis. Nothing that we have yet seen even comes close.