Providing Bridges Out of Poverty: GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program
According to World Bank’s global director of poverty and equity, Carolina Sánchez-Páramo, “Extreme poverty deprives hundreds of millions of children of the opportunity to reach their potential, in terms of physical and cognitive development, and threatens their ability to get good jobs in adulthood.”1 These children typically inherit poverty, and its disadvantages, from their parents. To break out of what is often a generational cycle and have hope for a better future, these children need help. Fortunately, there are bridges out of poverty, such as GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program.
Impoverished children struggle against various obstacles that stem from their poverty and threaten to keep them entrenched in it. They “often lack the food, sanitation, shelter, health care and education they need to survive and thrive,” says UNICEF.2
GFA World helps kids in need in places such as Asia and Africa by strengthening the child’s entire community. Living in the communities they serve, GFA missionaries, in partnership with local leaders, determine how to best meet the unique needs of each individual community. Through a community development approach, GFA World helps provide practical solutions like basic health care, food, clean water and educational and community service opportunities. The program, with its long-term, community-wide solutions, empowers children, their families and their entire communities to improve their lives in transformational ways.
Venita’s story is an example of the transformation possible through GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program.3
Her father was a poor, alcoholic daily wage laborer in Asia, and Venita’s family struggled to survive. Education was not a priority, and without proper study materials or support, Venita struggled in school. She seemed destined to repeat the family’s cycle of poverty.
But at the age of 8, Venita entered GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program, and her life’s trajectory shifted. The program, which offered academic assistance, nutritious food, health care and school supplies, alleviated the family’s financial burden but offered so much more.
With caring guidance from program staff, Venita soon caught up in her studies and gained a solid education. She also learned discipline, manners and morals and had the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities. A whole new world opened to Venita.
Venita completed 12th grade and went on to college, where she participated in student government and earned a bachelor’s degree. Through GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program, Venita gained a solid foundation and bright hope for her future. Now she tutors children, helping them gain tools for a brighter future and investing in her community, contributing to a new cycle of hope.
This is just one example of how GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program has empowered many children over the years to break free from poverty and reach their God-given potential.
1 “1 in 6 children live in extreme poverty, World Bank-UNICEF analysis shows.” World Bank. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/10/20/1-in-6-children-lives-in-extreme-poverty-world-bank-unicef-analysis-shows. October 20, 2020.
2 “Child poverty.” UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/social-policy/child-poverty. Accessed October 18, 2021.
3 “Finding Her True Destiny.” REJOICE: Gospel for Asia Newsletter. https://gfa-newsletter.org/issue/18/5/finding-her-true-destiny/. August 2021.