The recent tragedies in Haiti and other parts of the world prompt many to think about people who are on the other side "of the tracks" or on the other side of the world. While our country is pulling itself out of a recession, during which, no doubt, hundreds of families suffered (and are still suffering), the plight of America is still rosy compared to the living conditions in several places on this earth.
Since 1950, World Vision has been committed to impacting the lives of children and their communities throughout the world. According to local Fort Worth resident, Louanne Mason, who is the area manager for child ambassadors and a 16-year child sponsor, World Vision is the largest non-governmental organization (NGO), and is the largest distributor of food worldwide. With a presence in 100 countries, World Vision makes a difference through helping communities become independent. Although it is a Christian organization, it does not discriminate against any gender, religion., etc. If you are Muslim and need help, World Vision is there for you!
World Vision is most noted for its championing of child sponsorship. How does it work? An interested person is paired up with a child in need of sponsorship. This pairing may come by random selection or specific requests, such as shared birthdays, gender, country, etc. The sponsor pledges $35 per month to that child, receiving letters and pictures from the child and vice versa. Sponsors may also send gifts for birthdays and Christmas as well. And in special cases, sponsors can even travel to visit their children.
The 2009 audit revealed that 89.6 percent of donations went directly into the sponsored communities. Mason explains, "When you sponsor a child, you not only build a relationship with that child; but your monies go to help not just that specific child, but his or her family and community. For instance if "Ruth" gets a sponsorship but she has four sisters who are not sponsored, when Ruth gets immunized, so do her sisters. When Ruth gets school tuition, so do her sisters. World Vision cannot possibly sponsor every needy child; so the number of sponsorships are a representation of the overall need in that area. The money is then leveraged to impact the community by building schools, medical clinics, teaching farming lessons, etc." World Vision calls this approach: Vision for a Village. This represents World Vision's ultimate goal, which is that in 10-15 years of when it first arrives with help, it will be completely out of the area because the community with be self-supporting and thriving.
Its motto is "Giving a hand up, not a hand out." On this "hand" are the five "fingers" of impact:
- Access to clean water and healthy foods
- Economic development
- Health care
In the 30 countries where child sponsorships are not needed, such as the United States and Australia, World Vision still aids the needy. Mason says, "World Vision has 9 cities with storage houses, where World Vision keeps donated goods from companies such as Ralph Lauren, Mohen, the NFL, etc. The goods are then used to aid those at poverty-level throughout the country with clothes, furniture, school supplies, and on and on."
According to Mason, no time is better than now to get involved with World Vision. "At any given time, there are 25,000-40,000 children in need of sponsorship. Last year, due to the economy, 15,000 children lost sponsorship. We have a big need now!"
So, how can you help?
- Sponsor a child for $35 per month.
- Companies can donate new goods
- Host an event. Louanne Mason is ready and willing to speak to your organization, church, company, etc.
- As a group (youth group, Bible study group, church, etc), select an area and sponsor all the children there
For more information about World Vision, visit its Web site. And to contact Louanne Mason, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone her at 817-798-7346.