Questions about child sponsorship

Frequently asked questions about Child Sponsorship

Child from Astana, KazakhstanHow does it work?

Your sponsorship, by a regular monthly Direct Debit of £20 (Many donors give £25 or £30 a month) or more, can help SOS Children in one of two ways:

1. Sponsoring a child in an SOS Children’s Village

If you choose to help us in this way, you’ll be giving long-term support to a child. We’ll make sure they have a permanent and caring home in an SOS Children’s Village, as well as an education and training so they can one day lead an independent life. Obviously we’d never expect you to sponsor a child completely on your own. That’s why your SOS child will have more than one sponsor from different countries. In this way they’ll know that a number of friends care for and support them, and it’ll also make their future more financially secure.

2. Sponsoring an SOS Children’s Village

Alternatively, you can choose to sponsor an entire SOS Children’s Village. This helps to ensure that all of the children benefit from an education, medical care, food and clothing, allowing every child to enjoy happy and stable childhoods and look forward to a brighter future. And of course the funding of medical facilities, schools and welfare centres helps the wider community as well.

Can I choose where to sponsor?

Yes. There are over 500 SOS Children’s Villages in 125 countries around the world.  Many of these are available for sponsorships.  You can see the countries we work in on our Sponsorship Directory. Alternatively you can ask us to choose a Village for you, where the need is currently the greatest.

How much of my money will go to my sponsored child or Village?

We guarantee that every penny is spent on the care of children, with no deductions for UK admin. Sponsorship donations are sent to the SOS Children's Village and go into a pot from which each child and their new family are clothed, fed and educated. To ensure no sponsored child ever goes without care as living costs change, some flexibility is needed. To allow for this a minimum of 85% of each sponsorship payment will go to your child or Village, and as necessary up to 15% may be transferred to help sponsored children in SOS Children’s Villages which are underfunded. This will only be done when necessary and funds will only come from Villages with sufficient resources to ensure that the children there continue to receive the same high standards of care as ever.

We pay our administration costs in the UK using some of the Gift Aid from donors who agree to Gift Aid their donations.

How long do I have to be a sponsor for?

There is no minimum or maximum period. If, for whatever reason, you wish to stop sponsoring your SOS child or SOS Children's Village just write and let us know. In either case, we’ll continue to contribute funds until a new sponsor can be found.

Will you keep me in touch with what my money is helping to achieve?

Of course. You will receive a letter twice a year from our colleagues in the country where you are sponsoring, at Christmas and again in the summer. We’ll also make sure you receive our regular magazine Family Matters filled with information on our work, and our monthly newsletter SOS eNews if we have your email address.

Can the cost of sponsorship rise?

If the cost of sponsorship rises we tell donors. However, existing donors may carry on paying their existing rate unless the difference becomes too great.

SOS Children's Village Medan, IndonesiaWhere does the money go?

100% of sponsorship donations go towards the expenses of the villages where the children live and our projects there (such as support programmes for AIDS orphans still in their own villages). This ensures that SOS can help as many children as possible. Since children live with an SOS mother in families of around 10 children, we do not split budgets down child by child; however, where sponsors give additional gifts to the child for Christmas or birthdays we ensure that this money is used for that specific child (we accept financial donations, which are put into a savings account for that specific child).

So how do you pay for your costs, newsletters, information etc.?

Where people pay for sponsorship through payroll giving etc., so that the tax is already reclaimed, we cover the costs of sponsorship from our general funds. Where people pay us directly, and Gift Aid their donation, we can reclaim this tax and the tax is used to pay for the costs of sponsorship for them and others.

May we write to and visit the children we sponsor?

We always welcome letters to the children and the children always like getting letters. We can also help with translations, where necessary. However, we do not make children reply to every letter or write a thank you letter for every gift. Some children do so themselves and sometimes they correspond frequently with sponsors, especially if they speak the same language.

We have thought a lot about this, and realise in general that this is the polite thing to do in English society. But our primary concern is the welfare and happiness of the child and we would like the child to feel the love and support they are getting is unconditional. Also a mother with ten children to care for does not always have the chance to sit down with each one and help them write a letter.

It is also possible to visit the village. However, the privacy of all the children in our care and their right to a normal upbringing will always remain our priority.

Close ties at the SOS Children's VillageCan we choose the child we sponsor?

No. There are privacy issues involved in sending out details of children to potential sponsors. You can tell us what particular type of child you would like to sponsor (boy, girl, approximate age) and you can choose which village around the world you would like them to live in. If you would like to sponsor a child with special needs (we have quite a few children physically impaired by polio or land mines etc.) you can talk to us and we will see which children are available. Also if for some reason you feel the first child you are sent is not suitable, we will try to help.

What religion will my sponsored child be?

As with real families children generally are brought up in their mother's faith until they are old enough to make decisions themselves. Many villages have families of different faith living side by side. If a child comes to us of a particular faith we will generally place them with a mother of the same faith. In practice this means we generally bring up children in the prevailing religion of their country where there is one. If you would like to sponsor a Roman Catholic child, a Protestant child or a Hindu child for example, then we have many children available for sponsorship in countries where each is the national religion. Although many of our sponsors and people who work for us are religious and we treat religion very seriously, we do not try to introduce different religions or cultures into a region. In general we respect the local culture in its entirety: there are only a very small number of exceptions to this (we prohibit physical punishment of children even if local culture and law allows it).

More information about child sponsorship

Read some testimonials from child sponsors and find out more about being a sponsor. We also have a sponsor a child microsite.

If you would like to, you can now sponsor online here


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