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About child sponsorship

When you sponsor a child with SOS Children, you will be directly supporting an orphaned or abandoned child so they can grow up in a loving family home. 

Close-up of an SOS family, standing outside in front of their family home
SOS family at a Children's Village in Madagascar

100% of child sponsorship donations with SOS Children are spent on the care of children. As a sponsor, you will receive updates about your child, be able to write to them, and will see the difference your money is making over the years.

For us, the word ‘sponsor’ means money is ‘supporting’ or ‘helping to pay for’ the needs of a vulnerable child.

“I especially like the idea of a charity that enables children to live according to their own culture and religion”

-  Cathy, who sponsors a child in Nepal

Give a child a second chance in life

A baby touches her SOS mother's nose
A baby gets to know her new mother at an SOS Children's
Village in Brazil.

Sponsoring is an excellent way of helping children who, through no fault of their own, have nothing and no-one. This may be due to conflict, famine, natural disaster, poverty or a host of other reasons.

By sponsoring, you will offer a child real hope now and in the future. Your money will help provide them with a stable childhood in a permanent family home, as well as access to healthcare and quality education. So when they reach adulthood, they can go on to lead a full and independent life.

Sponsoring a child can be a rewarding experience – both for you and the communities you are helping. Read testimonials from current child sponsors.  

Keeping you in touch with regular updates

  • We will send you updates on how your sponsored child is progressing. To give you a sense of what information sponsors receive, have a look at recent sponsorship updates from SOS Children's Villages.
  • You’ll receive our twice-yearly glossy magazine featuring photos and stories on our work in over 500 SOS Children’s Villages around the world. Have a look at past copies of the Family Matters magazine, which every sponsor receives.
  • You can also sign up to our free monthly email newsletter to get regular updates about SOS Children's work around the world, along with photos, videos and the pick of the month's blog.
  • You are welcome to write and send small gifts to your sponsored child in their Village.

It’s easy to become a sponsor

Click here to sponsor online. Fill in your details and specify any special instructions you would like us to know about. Once we have received your completed form, we will send you details of your sponsored child in 3-4 weeks. Or learn more about sponsorship before you begin.

Have a look inside the Sponsorship Handbook

Thumbnail image of child sponsorship handbook

We send you this handbook when you sponsor an SOS child or Village. It's a really useful guide to your sponsorship and we hope it will answer questions you may have. If you have further questions, take a look at our Child Sponsorship FAQs.

Click here to download the handbook.

Pros and cons of sponsoring a child

Sometimes there is discussion in the media about whether child sponsorship is the best way to help children in developing countries. Below is an in-depth look at some common child sponsorship criticisms and our responses:

First argument:

“In most cases child sponsorship is a misnomer. It is community development by a different name. Sponsorship contributions are pooled with other donations and used to support projects to benefit the local community.” (from A Rough Guide to a Better World)

Our view:

A little girl looks to camera, held by a smiling SOS worker
This young girl is cared for in SOS Children's Village Piliyandala
in Sri Lanka

We are not a general poverty relief charity. General poverty relief charities are very good things, but we have a specialised approach concentrating on lone children without anyone to care for them.

If you sponsor with SOS Children you are primarily paying for your sponsored child to have a home and family in an SOS Children's Village. On average, an SOS Children's Village also supports around ten children in the community for each child who lives in the Village (e.g. through providing a school, medical care and a local nurse supporting child-headed families affected by AIDS in the nearby area). 

Second argument

“It can be degrading for the family and parents of a child to be reminded of their dependency on a distant stranger. For this reason communication with sponsors is often discouraged.”

Our view:

The children whom we take in have lost their parents and have no family to care for them. In circumstances where children feel alone and unloved, we believe that sponsorship is actually positive rather than degrading to the child since they know there is someone somewhere taking an interest in them. 

Third argument:

“The administration expenses involved in sponsorship are high and this money could be better used directly helping poverty.”

Our view:

If the alternative to sponsorship is for all the money to be used to help children, then that would be better. Some donors give regular donations without sponsorship and they are valued. However, it has been estimated that the whole world's poverty could be cured for the amount of money that Europeans spend on ice cream. 

Close up of four smiling SOS children
Children from an SOS family at the SOS Village in Cebu, Philippines

Our administrative and other expenses (including informing you further about what your payments are achieving, bank charges and passing on correspondence and news) are covered through tax reclaimed from the government, thanks to Gift-Aid donors.

Fourth argument:

“There are privacy issues involved in publishing details of children available to sponsor.”

Our view:

We agree, and do not do this. We do not give out children's details publicly, and avoid publishing identifiable photographs and names of children unless we have genuine permission to do so (for example in some instances from the child themselves once they have grown up). Sponsors get the details of the children they support but they are not given permission to publish these. We do not post “available to sponsor” pictures. 

Each child generally has a maximum of ten sponsors from around the world. All the money raised from a child sponsorship goes to that child's village and the local community.

If you wish to sponsor with SOS Children but would like to be the only sponsor of a child, consider sponsoring in Pakistan. Here, dedicated sponsorship begins at £40 not £20, but we are able to offer one sponsor per child, or two sponsors at a monthly rate of £25.

See some examples of child sponsorship and read sponsorship FAQs. If you're ready to help a vulnerable childbecome a sponsor now.

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SOS Medical Centres, with fully qualified nurses and doctors, provide medicines and vaccinations for children in need.