Monday, 18 November 2013

Community Development and Child Development

When it comes to Child sponsorship there are two main ways that it is accomplished. Both of these ways can accomplish a lot and be a great tool in the fight against poverty.

Firstly, I'm going to discuss community development, this is where children are sponsored and the money is pooled together and used to develop the community. The funds are used to build medical centres, schools, wells, and other important things for the community to have. They are also used for medical care, farming development, school supplies, and training in all types of useful things which will increase the health and prosperity of the community as well as how they relate to one another - e.g. that women have equal value to men is promoted. The community is helped to become self-sufficient and is thoroughly involved in the development of their community. With community development there is also the option of writing to your sponsored child and even visiting them! :)

Now I'm going to discuss child development, this is where children are sponsored and the money is used specifically to look after the needs of the child you sponsor. Compassion partners with local churches who establish Child Development centre which they run in conjunction with local Compassion staff. The child's family does not get given the money but it is used to provide medical care, school supplies, some meals, school fees - if not covered by the government, and other things they need. There is also a medical needs fund for any special medical needs, such as an expensive surgery, that are not covered by the sponsorship. With child development there is a big emphasis placed on the relationship that can be had between the sponsor and the sponsored child through letters and how it can change the sponsored child's life which is awesome; they treat letters as an important part of sponsorship and have a wonderful mail processing system set up - including some people who volunteer their time to help with it! :) You can also visit your sponsored child!

While both types of sponsorship are beneficial I recently read a quote that highlights why Compassion International chooses to use the child development program "we’ve learned that changed circumstances rarely change people’s lives and changed people inevitably change their circumstances" - Tony Reeves, Compassion International.

On a slightly different note, I want to mention an important difference between Community Development and Child Development. They both do wonderful work and both are often Christian based, however I have noticed over the last while that Community Development programs tend not to focus on sharing the gospel even if they're christian organisations whereas Child Development programs tend to have Jesus at the centre of what they do and encourage their sponsors to share Jesus with the children they sponsor as well as teaching all the children in their programs about Jesus thereby looking after their eternal needs as well! :)

Photo courtesy of Compassion International. :)

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