Neeraj with children from his village

Child Sponsorship makes a difference

Child Sponsorship transforms lives. Now children can choose their own sponsors!

Ever wondered if Child Sponsorship makes a difference?

It made a difference to Neeraj, who is making a difference to his community.

Neeraj is now 28 and the village leader – the pradhan – in a community in northern India. But when he was five-years-old he lived in a house made of tin sheets and his parents struggled to make enough money to feed him and his two siblings.

His father, Hukam Singh, was a farmer and cultivated a small field. He says, “When it rained, water would drip into our home through the ceiling. We struggled a lot because we were very poor.”

But Neeraj’s life started to change when he was five when, thanks to World Vision sponsors, he and children like him were supported. Then, there were no toilets, girls were discriminated against and many were abused, and most children had to work instead of attending school.

Neeraj when he was younger
Neeraj when he was younger

Child Parliament

One of the Child Sponsorship programme’s first projects was to begin children’s groups, where boys and girls received practical support and were taught about their rights. Soon the children formed a child parliament, determined to tackle the biggest issues affecting them and their community.

Neeraj recalls, “I developed an interest in social activities from my childhood because of this child parliament. I was part of various ministries, and we were also taken to Delhi, Chennai, and other places to meet politicians.” 

As he grew, so did Neeraj’s confidence to speak in front of people. At the same time, he began feeling concerned about social issues in and around his village, and so, in 2011, he ran in his college’s student union elections – and won.

Neeraj had found his passion. After graduating, he began working with political parties and learning from the leaders of his state.

Neeraj, a former sponsored child now sponsors a child

Community changes

Now Neeraj is a pradhan, or head, of several villages, and is as passionate as ever about tackling the issues the child parliament started work on all those years ago.

When he became the village leader, Neeraj:

  • placed closed circuit television cameras in the villages to help ensure the safety of girls and women

  • introduced organic farming training to help smallholder farmers cultivate better crops

  • now actively helps youths find jobs or get small business loans

  • is currently working on projects to avoid water or electricity shortages.
I want to give back to the families in these villages and do good things for them, the way World Vision did for me and brought me to where I am today

Neeraj has come full circle – he is now a World Vision sponsor himself, supporting a little girl from Delhi. He is thrilled to be part of the transformation he has experienced first-hand.

Neeraj with photo of the child he sponsors

His mother, Kanti, is proud of the changes her son has brought in their lives. “Earlier, we used to struggle for our own food. Now we provide food to those in need. I’m so proud of my son, especially because of his heart to help others, and World Vision is instrumental in bringing this change in his life as well as our lives,” she says smiling.

World Vision supported my son’s education even up to college.”    

But that’s not all. Neeraj is running for a seat in the legislative assembly to become a cabinet minister of his state, and the chief minister in 10 to 15 years. He is living proof of the potential Child Sponsorship can unlock.

I can say this from the depth of my heart and with sincerity: that if World Vision didn’t come into my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Neeraj says.

I want to give back to the families in these villages and do good things for them, the way World Vision did for me and brought me to where I am today.”

Chosen

As the world is changing – many children today face challenges like never before with conflict, climate change and COVID-19 – so World Vision continues to adapt.

We have now turned Child Sponsorship on its head. Instead of a child hopefully waiting to be chosen – perhaps even for years – they now have a say in their future. Children can now choose their own sponsors in our Chosen campaign, giving them the power to create change in their own lives, and even to transform their communities.

Already 50,000 children have chosen their sponsors since Chosen was launched! But many more are still waiting to choose. Could this be you?

Children today face unprecedented threats to their lives and futures, but through Chosen, Child Sponsorship is providing support and assistance; children are able to face their future confidently.

There are so many reasons to take part in Chosen. Your reason could be because changing the life of one child is the first step to changing the future of whole communities. Or it could be to show your children the importance of helping others. There have never been more reasons to sponsor a child today.

Child Sponsorship is the most effective way to help the most vulnerable children. Because of our community-focused solutions, for every child you help, four more children benefit, too.

The scale of the challenges can seem breathtaking and overwhelming. But transformation, one life at a time, like Neeraj’s, is happening.